NEW YORK -- Five high school students have received a prize that will enable them to share their passion for poetry in their communities and beyond, while receiving a $5,000 cash award.
Students from New York City to Sante Fe, New Mexico have been named National Student Poets, an honor presented by the National Student Poets Program. They will serve 1-year terms as “poetry ambassadors,” giving talks and presiding over workshops and other programs.
The poets are 10th and 11th graders chosen from five regions out of a pool of some 22,000 applicants around the U.S. They are Vidhatrie Keetha (Northeast) from the Horace Mann School in New York City, Emily Igwike (Midwest) from the University School of Milwaukee, Winslow Hastie, Jr. (Southeast) from the Charleston County School of the Arts in North Charleston, South Carolina; Jessie Begay (Southwest) from the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, and Diane Sun (West) from Interlake High School in Bellevue, Washington.
The director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Crosby Kemper, will formally appoint the student poets during a Sept. 27 ceremony at the Planet Word Museum in Washington, D.C. Poet Naomi Shihab Nye will be the keynote speaker.
“Poetry is for the soul. Our five young National Student Poets display plenty of that in their passionate work," Kemper said in a statement Wednesday. “As they help lead us out of our long bout with the pandemic they will provide balm for our distresses and delight for our hearts.”
The decade-old National Student Poets Program is a partnership including the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which manages the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Awards jurors this year included former U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and poet Edward Hirsch.