Local High School Poet To Be Honored at White House

A local high school student will be honored at the White House Thursday for her poetry prowess.

Maya Salameh, a 16-year-old junior at San Diego High School of International Studies, was invited to the fifth annual National Student Poets Program (NSPP) celebration. The program highlights the nation’s best 10th and 11th grade poets.

First Lady Michelle Obama and hip-hop legend Q-Tip, co-founder of A Tribe Called Quest, will honor Salameh and four other high school students representing different regions of the country.

Q-Tip was named the first Artistic Director for Hip-Hop Culture at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2016.

Salameh is the founder of her school’s Psychology Club and has dreams of becoming a psychologist and diplomat. Her passions include writing and history; she is fluent in English, French and Arabic.

“For me, writing is the code of my conduct, but poetry is the algorithm of my soul," Salameh said in an interview with the NSPP. "What I mean by that is poetry is inherently irrational. It’s disjointed and it doesn’t have to make sense. It’s the best medium of expression where you can express any emotion you like in any structured or unstructured form you choose.”

She draws her inspiration for her own poetry form authors like May Angelou, Kahlil Gibran and Charles Perkowski, she said.

Click here to watch the full interview.

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