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HIGH LIFE / A WEEKLY FORUM FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS : 'Sweet 16' Poem by Irvine Junior Named a Winner

October 06, 1989

Jill Lytle, a junior at University High School in Irvine, was a winner in the "Sweet 16 Contest" sponsored by Sassy magazine and the Diamond Information Center.

Her essay on why it's "cool" to be 16 and those of 15 other contestants were deemed the most creative and original by a panel of judges, which included young celebrities Lonnie Quinn from the soap opera "All My Children" and Sean Kanan of "Karate Kid III." Sassy magazine's Editor in Chief Jane Pratt and entertainment editor Christina Kelly also judged the contest, which received submissions from more than 500 girls, all age 16.

The 16 winners and their mothers won a weekend trip in September to New York City, where the girls were presented three-quarter-carat diamond pendants during a party at the St. Moritz Hotel in Manhattan. The winners were also treated to a makeover at Bloomingdale's department store and lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Not surprisingly, in a majority of the essays, boys were the most popular subject, along with dating and getting a driver's license. For many young women, gaining independence and a sense of responsibility were the focus, and a number of them expressed social concerns.

"Today's teens are definitely more sophisticated and worldly than their parents' generation," Pratt said. "They are exposed to so much through television and other media, and are very aware of world events. We know from talking to our readers that they are concerned with everything from environmental issues to maintaining good relations with the Soviet Union."

Lytle's 14-line poem explores the contrasting feelings a girl of 16 experiences.

You're not an adult,

Nor are you a child.

Because of that middleness,

You're allowed to go wild.

You're independent

(To a certain extent).

While you're still dependent,

(You don't pay rent).

You can act mature,

Or immature,

Or anywhere in between.

And that's what's so great

About being Sweet 16!!

--Jill Lytle

"When I go to the beauty parlor, I always use the emergency entrance. Sometimes I just go for an estimate."

--Phyllis Diller

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