Meet the 2017 National Student Poets

Michael Barrett  //  Aug 14, 2017

Meet the 2017 National Student Poets

The National Student Poets Program (NSPP) has announced its sixth class of youth poets.

Five teenagers have been chosen from among thousands of award-winning poets to receive the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. The distinguished student poets will be appointed by the Librarian of Congress and the Director of the IMLS at a ceremony August 31, 2017 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Check out the full press release to learn more about the program.

Representing five geographical regions of the nation, the 2017 National Student Poets are:

  • Annie Castillo, age 16 of Falls Church, VA, junior at George Mason High School
  • Kinsale Hueston, age 17 of Corona del Mar, CA, senior at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
  • Ben Lee, age 16 of Edina, MN, junior at The Blake School
  • Juliet Lubwama, age 17 of Downingtown, PA, senior at Downingtown STEM Academy
  • Camila Sanmiguel, age 17 of Laredo, TX, senior at J.B. Alexander High School


The National Student Poets Program is an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers which administers the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. To be considered for appointment as a National Student Poet, students first must receive a national medal from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nearly century-old program known for its recognition and celebration of the country’s creative teens.


Throughout the year, the poets will serve as literary ambassadors and will share their passion for poetry and the literary arts with their communities and at libraries and museums throughout their regions. This will be done through service projects, workshops, and public readings. In addition, each poet will receive a $5,000 academic award.

Other appointment events during the National Book Festival weekend include public readings of the National Student Poets’ work and a private workshop for the students with 21st US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.

The National Student Poets Program is open to high school sophomores and juniors who submit work to, and receive a national medal from, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This year out of a pool of more than three hundred award-winning poets representing 40 states from Hawaii to Massachusetts, 35 semi-finalists were invited to submit additional poetry and performance videos to distinguished jurors for final selection as National Student Poets.

To learn more about the program, visit


Scholastic, Alliance for Young Artists & WritersClockwise: Annie Castillo, Kinsale Hueston, Ben Lee, Juliet Lubwama, Camila Sanmiguel