“In my darkest nights and brightest days, in times of unbridled joy and unbearable heartbreak, poetry has been a refuge, a soothing companion that gives voice to emotions I can’t always articulate on my own.”
This reflection on the power of poetry was given by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden as she appointed the five 2023 National Student Poets at the White House on Monday, November 13. Rowland Hall senior Gabriella Miranda was among these poets, representing the West Region of the United States. She was joined by Jacqueline Flores of Zolfo Springs, FL (Southeast Region), Miles Hardingwood of Brooklyn, NY (Northeast Region), Shangri-La Hou of Saint Louis, MO (Midwest Region), and Kallan McKinney of Norman, OK (Southwest Region).
Gabby has an instinct for images and rhythm that resonates through the deepest channels of human experience.—Joel Long, Upper School English, creative writing, and literary magazine teacher
In addition to welcoming the poets and their families to the White House, event organizers worked with the honorees’ high schools to arrange live watch parties, which allowed many of Gabby’s classmates, teachers, and well-wishers to gather in support of the celebrated young poet. School representatives were also asked to introduce their students, each of whom shared an original poem. Joel Long, Upper School English, creative writing, and literary magazine teacher, had the honor of introducing Gabby prior to her reading of her poem “Almanac.”
“Gabby showed her gifts as a writer from her first classes with me in ninth grade,” Joel shared. “As a voracious reader and a lover of words, Gabby has an instinct for images and rhythm that resonates through the deepest channels of human experience.”
The 2023 National Student Poets were chosen by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers from a group of high schoolers who collectively submitted more than 24,000 works in the 2023 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. From a pool of National Medal recipients, 40 semi-finalists were identified as the most gifted young poets in their regions, based on their originality, technical skills, and personal voice, and invited to submit additional poetry and performance videos to distinguished jurors for the final selection of the five National Student Poets, chosen for their exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise. The National Student Poets serve as national poetry ambassadors, sharing their passion for poetry, literacy, and the literary arts with their communities and throughout their regions, and each received a $5,000 academic award.