Today, five talented young poets had the experience of a lifetime—they met First Lady Michelle Obama!
These high school students were selected as the fourth annual class of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP)—the nation’s highest honor for youth poets, presented by 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.
Representing five different regions of the nation, the 2015 National Student Poets are:
- Chasity Hale, age 16 of Miami, FL (Southeast Region)
- De’John Hardges, age 16 of Cleveland, OH (Midwest Region)
- Eileen Huang, age 15 of Lincroft, NJ (Northeast Region)
- Anna Lance, age 17 of Anchorage, AK (West Region)
- David Xiang, age 17 of Little Rock, AR (Southwest Region)
The National Student Poets’ first reading of their original work was hosted today by Mrs. Obama, Honorary Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, at the White House as part of an appointment ceremony. Throughout the next year, these five teens will serve as literary ambassadors with the mission to engage diverse audiences of all ages in the art of poetry by sharing their work, attending events, hosting workshops and leading service projects within their communities.
What’s next for the National Student Poets? They will travel to New York City where they will attend the renowned Poets Forum, presented by the Academy of American Poets. To stay up-to-date with NSPP, check out their Facebook page and be sure to join in the conversation on Twitter using #5poets!
Students in grades 10 and 11 who are interested in becoming National Student Poets can submit their work throughout the fall to the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the exclusive pathway to be considered for the National Student Poets Program. Deadlines for submissions vary by region. In spring 2016, the Scholastic Art & Writing Award National Medalists in poetry will be eligible for the program.
Congratulations Chasity, De’John, Eileen, Anna and David!
First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a poetry reading in honor of the 2015 National Student Poets (from left: Anna Lance, David Xiang, De’John Hardges, Chasity Hale, and Eileen Huang) in the Blue Room of the White House, October 8, 2015. (Photo by Patrick G. Ryan for the National Student Poets Program.)