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Rockford's newest youth poet laureate ready to minister to the community with her words

Trinity taking a selfie.
Trinity taking a selfie.

She sings, she dances and now she is the newest Rockford youth poet laureate.

Trinity Rucker, 13, is a 7th grader at Maria Montessori. She is the fourth youth poet laureate for the city of Rockford. She said she originally thought she was entering into a regular poetry contest. She didn’t realize her name was in the drawing to the be next youth poet laureate.

“My mom called me when I was on my way to volleyball practice,” she explained. “And at that time, I
wasn't having too good of a day. And when she told me, all I could say was 'wow,' like, I really just had no words.”

Darlene Titsworth
Trinity at her youth poet laureate induction.

Darlene Titsworth is Trinity’s mother. She said her daughter is into a lot of things, but poetry is where her heart is.

“She’d always write me like, a card or a letter, or something, you know, Mother's Day don't even have to be just -- just because,” Titsworth said. “So, she would always write. And I knew because the teacher would always … they were always talking about her writing and her expressing herself.”

The onset of the pandemic triggered something more. During that time, the social unrest, staying at home and seeing loved ones pass around her prompted the middle schooler to write more. She wrote a poem that won an honorable mention for the 2023 Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards.

Trinity said George Floyd’s murder inspired the poem “Years and Years."

“And I just got so sick of seeing stuff like that on the news. I got so sick of hearing about my people just being beaten and nobody doing anything about it,” Trinity said. “The people who are supposed to protect us, they were the ones hurting us.”

Trinity said she plans to use her platform to uplift those who are homeless and who are in long-term care facilities.

“It's kind of like me, bringing hope to them," she said, "because in poetry, you can express feelings of joy and sadness. So, I feel like I'll be bringing a coping mechanism to them, and at the same time exposing them to something that is able to give you happiness.”

Titsworth said Trinity has her hands full with extracurricular activities, but she is excited about this new thing, although it means she will be busier.

“I'm looking at the platform to minister, to express and show that age is only a number. It's the knowledge you have and what you have to share,” she added. “Trinity is such a bright, talented person. She's very gifted, singing, dancing, writing, art, she does it all.”

Trinity will serve as youth poet laureate for one year. She said she is looking forward to working with Jenna Goldsmith, the current poet laureate.

Trinity said putting her feelings onto paper makes her feel better but using her gift to help others is priceless.


Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.