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Utah Arts & Museums just announced that the state finals for Poetry Out Loud, the national poetry recitation competition, will be held on March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Black Box Theatre in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

The Poetry Out Loud Utah state finals event is free and open to the public.

The champion will go to Washington, D.C., on April 29 to represent Utah in the national finals and compete to win a $20,000 scholarship.Approximately 3,549 students from 26 high schools around the state participated in Poetry Out Loud activities and competed in school and regional competitions.

Regional competitions were held in the Uintah Basin, Iron County, Utah County, Sanpete County, and the southern end of Salt Lake County. Students will recite works they selected from an anthology of nearly 600 classic and contemporary poems. Students from the following schools will compete in the finals: Union High School (Roosevelt)Lehi High School (Lehi)Hurricane High School (Hurricane)North Sanpete High School (Mt. Pleasant)West Jordan High School (West Jordan)"These exceptional students who engage in Poetry Out Loud really connect with the poetry and get a chance to improve their public-speaking skills," said Margaret Hunt, Utah Arts & Museums Director, in a press release. "The final state competition is a thrilling evening, and the state champion also honors us with a recitation at the Mountain West Arts Conference and Governor's Leadership in the Arts Awards in May."Utah has had four finalists in the national top ten. Last year, senior MarKaye Hassan of Logan High School took third place in the national finals.

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