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Talented teens abound in metro Detroit


(l -r) InsideOut Founder Dr. Terry Blackhawk, CWP alumna Lena Cintron, First Lady Michelle Obama

Teenagers get a terrible rap. Popular culture is filled with quips about their laziness and complaints about their irresponsibility. It’s rare that we discuss their gifts and talents. But metropolitan Detroit is full of talented teenagers and positive teen-related programs. Perhaps, it is time to raise the level of conversation. Here are a few youth-related happenings from the past week:

Citywide Poets
On Wednesday, Nov. 18, local literary movers and shakers gathered at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MOCAD) to celebrate Citywide Poets (CWP) receipt of the 2009 Coming Up Taller Award (an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities). This event was a follow-up to the recent recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. where CWP Myriha Burton and 2009 CWP alumna Lena Cintrón accompanied InsideOut Founder Dr. Terry Blackhawk to the White House. The local celebration included performances by Andrew Hawkes, Lena Cintrón, Myrhia Burton and Robert Arnett. There was also a special award given to former CWP staffer Nandi Comer followed by a special presentation by Joseph Verge. Citywide Poets is InsideOut's award-winning after-school workshop for high school poets. For more information, visit the website at

Teen H.Y.P.E. Calendars available
The 2010 Teen H.Y.P.E. (Helping Youth by Providing Education) Healthy Relationships calendar is now available! This calendar was developed to help young people develop and maintain healthier relationships. It includes dating tips, tools for teens and parents, and local health resources. Proceeds from calendar sales support the production of Teen H.Y.P.E.’s next stage play, Love Notes. Teen H.Y.P.E. is a performance based youth development initiative that teaches youth about violence, substance abuse, sexual activity, and sexually transmitted diseases. The program offers education through theatre, service and instruction. For more information, contact (313) 837-5589, ext. 103. You can also visit Teen H.Y.P.E. on-line at

Rochester High School becomes Urinetown
What would you do if you had to pay to pee? That’s the premise of the Rochester Alliance of Theatrical Students’ recent production, Urinetown: The Musical. This full-scale musical, held at Rochester High School from Nov. 19 until 21, featured singing, dancing, great sets and superb acting from an all-student cast. Standouts included: Gabe Gibbs as Bobby Strong, Carrie Drummond as Penelope Pennywise and Connor Antonucci as Caldwell B. Caldwell. The one to watch, however, was Nicole Armold as Hope Caldwell. This talented 11th grader displayed hints of Carol Burnett’s comic sensibility with singing that brought to mind Audra McDonald. Other notables included featured dancer Christina Kim and chorus member Bianca Ward. If you are interested in supporting this talented group of students, find out more here.

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