Vancouver teen earns top honor for young poets

Miles Hewitt one of five in U.S. to serve as regional literary ambassador



Vancouver’s Miles Hewitt has been appointed to the inaugural class of literary ambassadors for the National Student Poets Program, the nation’s highest honor for young poets presenting original work.

The honor came during the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., over the weekend.

Hewitt, 17, is a student at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. He is one of five students across America to receive the award. He is the son of Scott Hewitt, a reporter for The Columbian, and Sue Peabody.

The young poets program, a signature initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, honors, promotes, and celebrates young people as makers and doers who can inspire their peers to achieve excellence in their creative endeavors.

In a press release, the organization noted that Hewitt is a musician and songwriter who was looking for a form of writing that kept him untethered to rhyme or rhythm: enter poetry.

At the arts school, he was admitted this past year to the Focus (highest level) Literary Arts class. There, he’s a member of a small group of writers who come together to workshop one another’s pieces and offer support. Hewitt is the president of the Young Democrats of Clark County, and founded and served as the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. He’s considering a career in political communications or speechwriting.

The five National Student Poets, whose yearlong commitment begins today, were selected from a pool of writers, grades 9-11, who received a national Scholastic Art & Writing Award for poetry through the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

In addition to serving as literary ambassadors for poetry through readings and workshops at libraries, museums, and schools in their geographic regions, the National Student Poets each receive an academic award of $5,000 funded by the Bernstein Family Foundation, as well as mentoring and feedback on their work. During their one-year tenure, each student will serve as a resource for the U.S. Department of Education and the Library of Congress. Each will also complete a community service project to help build awareness for the importance of creative expression and literacy, as well as the appreciation of poetry.