We are beyond thrilled to share that Adroit students have been selected as three of five National Student Poets, as reported by the Library of Congress this morning.
Darius Atefat-Peckham, a senior at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, is studying poetry with Mario Chard in the 2018 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, and will represent the Midwestern United States.
Daniel Blokh, a senior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, Alabama, studied nonfiction with Caroline Crew in the 2016 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, and will represent the Southeastern United States. Daniel also previously served as a member of our poetry reading staff following his time in the mentorship program.
Heather Laurel Jensen, a junior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona, studied poetry with Alyse Bensel in the 2017 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, and will represent the Southwestern United States.
Other students selected include Alexandra Contreras-Montesano, representing the Northeastern United States, and Ariana Smith, representing the Western United States. Together, these five teens from across the country will serve as National Student Poets, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work.
The National Student Poets Program is an initiative in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the nation’s primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries, and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which presents 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 most creative teens.
The distinguished Student Poets will be appointed by IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew and Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden at a ceremony on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Other appointment events during the National Book Festival weekend include public readings of the National Student Poets’ work and a private conversation with 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.
Throughout the year, the Poets will serve as literary ambassadors and will share their passion for poetry and literacy 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.
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 23,000 works of poetry submitted to the Awards, 35 semi-finalists were invited to submit additional poetry and performance videos to distinguished jurors for final selection as National Student Poets.
We couldn't be prouder of Darius, Daniel, and Heather, and look forward to seeing the inventive and impactful ways in which they embrace this incredible platform. In the meantime, we invite you to learn more about the annual free, online Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program (and to sign up for updates on the 2019 program, should you choose!), and to learn more about the National Students Program.