The 2014 class of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP), the nation’s highest honor for teen poets presenting original work, began their year of poetry events, workshops and service projects with a reading hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama in the Blue Room of the White House.
These five young poets were appointed by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to showcase the essential role of writing and the arts in academic and personal success.
Mrs. Obama, Honorary Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, congratulated the National Student Poets, noting, “With this award, we celebrate the exceptional creativity, dedication, and promise of the young poets we honor today. Their courage, compassion, and imagination are inspiring others and shaping the world around them. As literary ambassadors to people across the country, these young people have the opportunity to set an example and inspire audiences of all ages with their written work, readings and service projects. Our National Student Poets and all of our young people have unlimited potential, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the years ahead.”
As National Student Poets, Weston Clark, age 16, of Indianapolis, IN; Julia Falkner, age 17, of Louisville, CO; Ashley Gong, age 15, of Sandy Hook, CT; Madeleine LeCesne, age 18, of New Orleans, LA; and Cameron Messinides, age 17, of Greenville, SC will represent five regions of the country to engage audiences everywhere and of all ages in the art of poetry.
The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit, identifies teenagers with exceptional creative talent and brings their work to a national audience through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
In the picture above: First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a poetry reading in honor of the 2014 National Student Poets (from left: Cameron Messinides, Madeleine LeCesne, Ashley Gong, Julia Falkner and Weston Clark) in the Blue Room of the White House, Sept. 18, 2014.