University School of Milwaukee junior Emily Igwike ’24 has been named one of five National Student Poets, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. She was chosen from thousands of 10th and 11th grade students who submitted Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and received top honors in poetry. From this pool of national medal recipients, 40 semifinalists were identified and invited to submit additional poetry and performance videos. From there, distinguished jurors made the final selection of the five National Student Poets.
Igwike represents the Midwest region. Throughout the year, she will serve as a literary ambassador, sharing her passion for poetry, literacy, and the literary arts with her community and the Midwest. She will conduct service projects, workshops, and public readings. In addition, each poet will receive $5,000. In June, Igwike will read one of her poems in Carnegie Hall.
“I was so shocked and surprised when I found out I was named a National Student Poet,” said Igwike. “But I was also really happy. There are so many talented poets as part of this program, so it’s a huge honor.”
Igwike has been writing poetry since a young age. Although she hopes to pursue a career in the medical field, she plans to continue writing and practicing poetry as long as she can. “I think that poetry is such a powerful device,” she said. “I can write a poem and know exactly what I want to do with it. But somebody else is going to read it, and they're going to see it in a completely different light. It's like this living, breathing thing that each person can look at and interpret in a completely different way.”