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Courtney Buckland, the Alliance’s Associate Manager of Affiliate Services, at the 2015 National Art Educators Association Annual Convention in New Orleans.

As an artist, the National Art Educators Association Annual Convention (NAEA) is my favorite event–I feel like when I arrive I am with my tribe. Big jewelry, rainbow-colored hair, and thousands of art educators, administrators, and even some students about to begin the path to becoming art educators themselves. The fact that this year’s convention was in New Orleans was particularly welcome after the long, cold winter we had in New York City. I was continuously pleased by how much NAEA was able to bring the feel of New Orleans to the convention. There was no shortage of masks, Mardi Gras beads, and sunshine! Read More


The Youth Poetry Ambassadors pose after a day of performances at the Poetry Foundation. Represented are the National Student Poets Program, Young Chicago Authors, Poetry Out Loud, and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. Photo by George Gong.

In Chicago, on April 2–3, the National Student Poets Class of 2014 convened at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago to kick off National Poetry Month with a Youth Poetry Assembly. The National Student Poets were joined by their peers representing other programs throughout the nation: Poetry Out Loud, Young Chicago Authors, and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. The performances were electric, as each of the eleven writers, readers, and performers took to the stage to share their poetry with one another and an open audience of poetry lovers.
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We are thrilled to introduce your fifth 2014 National Student Poet Southwest region representative, Madeline LaCesne! Madeline, age 18, is a senior at Lusher Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Madeleine began writing poetry when she was six years old. After her parents gave her an antique bed, each night she used the back of its headboard to scribble poetry into the wood. She lost this work in 2005, when the headboard and her home were washed away by Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans like her own identity is a blend of various cultures and bloodlines, so her work deals with unscrambling her identity and sparked an interest in genealogy as well as the city’s history. Among the writers she looks to for guidance are Anne Carson, Kimiko Hahn, and Anna Moschovakis.

Favorite quote about writing:

Quote from Milosz’s “Ars Poetica”: “The purpose of poetry is to remind us / how difficult it is to remain just one person.”

Fun fact:

Since I turned fourteen, the first thing I do as soon as I wake up on my birthday is read Richard Wilbur’s “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World” aloud. Read More

Introducing Cameron Messinides, your Southeast Region 2014 National Student Poet representative! Cameron, from Camden, SC, is a senior at South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts & Humanities in Greenville, SC. A 17 year old creative writing student, Cameron was recognized with an honorary mention for the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Secondary School Poetry Prize, and his work has been published on The Atlantic’s website. He lives with his parents and five brothers and sisters, where, besides writing, he spends his time playing basketball, clumsily cooking dinner once a week, and helping raise the family goats.

Fun Fact:

Cameron loves Basketball. His favorite basketball player is Andre Iguodala.

Favorite Quote About Writing:

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

- Gustave Flaubert Read More

Meet Julia Falkner, your West region 2014 National Student Poet representative! Julia is 17 and a senior at Monarch High School in Louisville, Colorado. Most of Julia’s work is about adolescence, gender, and vulnerability. She co-runs her high school’s Writers Society as well as edits and produces the school literary magazine,B-Sides. Additionally, she absorbs as much art as possible. In the coming year she hopes to start a film project, read the collected works of Shakespeare, and complete a science-fiction novel. When she isn’t writing, Julia keeps a loaded AP schedule, plays electric keyboards and guitar, and runs cross country for her high school.

Favorite Quote About Writing:
“Poetry can move the fulcrum of the mind just enough so that the world becomes electrified and bewildering.”

Fun Fact:
Julia volunteers at a local neuroscience lab and is currently working on a project investigating pain tolerance. Read More

Ashley Gong, age 15, of Sandy Hook, CT is a junior at Newtown High School and your Northeast Region National Student Poet representative! She grew up surrounded by language, as her parents, first generation immigrants, would often read Chinese poems to her when she was a toddler. Despite this early exposure to poetry, her first venture into writing came in the form of prose. It wasn’t until more recently that she discovered her passion for poetry, which is currently her go-to medium for creative expression. She has learned to always keep a pen at hand, as she can often be found bursting into spontaneous spurts of poetry at any given place or moment. A junior at Newtown High School, Ashley channels her love for writing, reading, reaching out, and leading into all aspects of her life, including instilling a love of Latin among middle school students.

Favorite Quote About Writing:

“Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.” -Neil Gaiman

Fun Fact:

“I draw upon a wide variety of topics for inspiration, including music, history, science, and even math.” Read More