The Class of 2017 at the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building on Thursday, August 31, 2017, in Washington, D.C., with Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, actor and activist Alfre Woodard, 21st U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Juan Felipe Herrera, and Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. (From left: Dr. Carla Hayden, Ben Lee, Annie Castillo, Kinsale Hueston, Juliet Lubwama, Camila Sanmiguel, Alfre Woodard, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Alliance for Young Artists & Writers)

The Class of 2017 at the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building on Thursday, August 31, 2017, in Washington, D.C., with Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, actor and activist Alfre Woodard, 21st U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Juan Felipe Herrera, and Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. (From left: Dr. Carla Hayden, Ben Lee, Annie Castillo, Kinsale Hueston, Juliet Lubwama, Camila Sanmiguel, Alfre Woodard, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Alliance for Young Artists & Writers)

On August 31, the new Class of National Student Poets was appointed at the Library of Congress in a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. While in Washington, the Student Poets were treated to a whirlwind of events celebrating their achievement. From library tours to workshops with esteemed poets, the Class of 2017 had an experience they won’t soon forget.

The Class of 2017 touring the Library of Congress' stacks. (Photo by David Hathcox)

The Class of 2017 touring the Library of Congress’s stacks. (Photo by David Hathcox)

The Appointment Events for the Class of 2017 started off with a tour of the Library of Congress. During the tour, the poets learned about the history of the Jefferson Building, saw art-related mosaics, and discovered special points-of-interest in the building. They were also granted a visit to the Library’s stacks.

Poet Glenis Redmond prepares the Class of 2017 for their first public reading.

Poet Glenis Redmond prepares the Class of 2017 for their first public reading. (Photo by David Hathcox)

Poet and mentor Glenis Redmond led the Student Poets through a series of physical and vocal exercises to prepare them for their first public reading. The session also included a group performance of “The Truth” by Ted Joans.

National Student Poets Camila Sanmiguel, Juliet Lubwama, Ben Lee, Kinsale Hueston, and Annie Castillo are recognized at their Appointment Ceremony by Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, August 31, 2017. (Photo by Shawn Miller)

National Student Poets Camila Sanmiguel, Juliet Lubwama, Ben Lee, Kinsale Hueston, and Annie Castillo are recognized at their Appointment Ceremony by Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, August 31, 2017. (Photo by Shawn Miller).

At the Appointment Ceremony, Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, charged the new class of National Student Poets to “take poetry into our nation’s places of learning, into our schools, museums, our libraries, and community spaces. Reflect and amplify the multiple voices and stories around you. You are a key part of our nation’s future and the caliber of work and the strength of your passion tell me that the future is indeed bright.” Longtime supporter of the National Student Poets Program, actor, and activist Alfre Woodard presented the National Student Poets with their plaques.

The 2017 National Student Poets display their completed mural with Juan Felipe Herrera

The 2017 National Student Poets display their completed mural with Juan Felipe Herrera (Photo by David Hathcox)

After the Ceremony, the new National Student Poets participated in a poetry workshop with 21st U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Juan Felipe Herrera, where they created a group poetry mural.

Class of 2017 National Student Poets at the Scholastic Inc. booth during the National Book Festival

Class of 2017 National Student Poets at the Scholastic Inc. booth during the National Book Festival (Photo by David Hathcox)

The National Student Poets also attended the National Book Festival. At the festival, the Student Poets led a workshop for younger students at the Scholastic Inc. booth. That afternoon, they shared their original works of poetry onstage at the Town Square.

The Class of 2017 talk with Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew

The Class of 2017 talk with Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew

The poets then attended the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Pavilion of the States, where they were introduced by Dr. Matthew. At the event, they met library representatives from their regions to plan future poetry readings and workshops during their upcoming year of service.

The 2017 National Student Poets are ready to take on the challenge of literary ambassadors! Through the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and its vast network of libraries and museums, the Class of 2017 National Student Poets is well on its way to bringing each poet’s love of poetry to communities across the nation. The poets will be hosting workshops, readings, and more throughout the spring of 2018.

Stay tuned to see where the National Student Poets are headed next!

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