White House Committee’s National Student Poets Celebrate National Poetry Month


Kimber Craine / President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities / 202-682-5661 / kcraine@pcah.gov
Sara Sinek / Scholastic / 212-343-6899 / ssinek@scholastic.com
Janelle Brevard / Institute of Museum and Library Services / 202-653-4630 / jbrevard@imls.gov

National Poetry Month Inspires a Month of Poetry and Community Service for the 2015 Class of National Student Poets

Washington, D.C. – April 1, 2016 – The month of April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month and the continuation of a year-long commitment as a poetry ambassador led by the 2015 class of National Student Poets. Following their induction into the National Student Poets Program (NSPP) – the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work– the students are using National Poetry Month to celebrate poetry and promote an appreciation of the literary arts across the country.

The five poets, Chasity Hale, De’John Hardges, Eileen Huang, Anna Lance, and David Xiang, were appointed last October in a White House ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. During National Poetry Month, the teen poets will actively host and participate in poetry events, readings, and workshops within their respective U.S. regions throughout the month of April.

“Our National Student poets are arts ambassadors,” said First Lady Michelle Obama, who is Honorary Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “They are advocates in their schools and communities -- reaching out to folks who could use some poetry in their lives. This year of service is a cornerstone of the National Student Poets Program. By sharing their passion for poetry during National Poetry Month they are helping to change the world and we are very proud of them.”

April 2016 NSPP National Poetry Month events include:

  • April 1: De’John Hardges, 16, Presenter, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, OH
    De’John will be leading the first of a series of five hip-hop workshops on the relationship of poetry and hip hop.
  • April 3–4: David Xiang, 17, Presenter, Lawton Veterans Center, Lawton, OK
    David will be a reading at the Lawton Veterans’ Center and presenting at local high schools in Lawton where many of the students David will be engaging with have parents who are in the military.
  • April 21–23: Chasity Hale, 16, Featured Presenter, O, Miami, Miami, FL
    Chasity will be a presenter during Poetry Press Week at O, Miami, Miami’s largest annual poetry festival. She will create, script, and produce a reading of her work incorporating fashion and poetry.
  • April 25–26: Anna Lance, 17, Special Guest, Missoula’s Big Sky High School's International Literary Magazine, Missoula, MT
    Missoula’s Big Sky High School's Student International Literary Magazine will interview Anna, and she will participate two large-scale readings and discussions featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Vijay Seshadri and Greg Pardlo.
  • April 27: Eileen Huang, 15, Special Guest Reader, Poetry & the Creative Mind, New York, NY
    Eileen will present her original poetry as a special guest reader at this 14th annual gala at the Lincoln Center presented by the Academy of American Poets, the nonprofit organization behind National Poetry Month.

A complete list of the teen poets’ National Poetry Month events can be found here: www.artandwriting.org/nspp/service.

Since the start of the program, NSPP poets have reached a wide range of audiences by sharing their original work at local poetry gatherings and participating in readings at prestigious locations including: Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, the Dodge Poetry Festival, and the Academy of American Poets Poets Forum. This trend of service and professional growth for the National Student Poets will continue throughout National Poetry Month, marking a high point in the Poets’ year of service. Through their April literary events, the National Student Poets will broaden their reach and amplify their ongoing efforts to encourage new audiences of all ages to embrace the art of poetry.

The fourth annual class of the National Student Poets Program reflects the national imprimatur of 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. These five outstanding young writers were selected by a jury of literary luminaries and leaders in education and the arts from among students in grades 10–11 who received national medals in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program for creative teens presented by the Alliance. Each National Student Poet receives an academic award of $5,000, funded by the Bernstein Family Foundation, and serves as a resource for the U.S. Department of Education and the Library of Congress during his or her ambassadorship.

For up-to-date information about National Student Poet events during National Poetry Month, follow NSPP on Facebook and across social media using the hashtag #5poets. More information about the National Student Poets Program can be found online at www.artandwriting.org/NSPP.

The Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996. To learn more, go to www.poets.org.


The National Student Poets Program is a signature initiative which reflects the national imprimatur of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in advancing arts education, links the National Student Poets with audiences and resources in their neighborhoods through the Institute of Museum and Library Services' community-based network of libraries and museums, and builds upon the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers' long-standing work with educators and creative teens through the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The program works in coordination with the Library of Congress and the U.S. Department of Education and the academic awards are generously provided by the Bernstein Family Foundation. More information on the Program can be found at www.artandwriting.org/NSPP.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. Its core areas of focus are arts and humanities education, cultural exchange, and community revitalization. First Lady Michelle Obama, like other first ladies before her, serves as honorary chairman of the committee. To learn more, visit www.pcah.gov.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant-making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, identifies teenagers with exceptional creative talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Founded in 1923, the Awards program is the longest-running, most prestigious initiative of its kind, having fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students through recognition, exhibitions, scholarships and publications. Over the past six years alone, students have submitted more than a million works of art and writing and more than $30 million has been made available in scholarships and awards to top winning participants. To learn more, visit www.artandwriting.org.