Santa Fe – Join thirteen New Mexico high school students at the St. Francis Auditorium of the New Mexico Museum of Art on Sunday March 3, 2013 at 1 p.m., as they compete to become New Mexico's Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest Finalist. Former Santa Fe Poet Laureate Joan Logghe is scheduled to perform.  Admission for the event is free to the public.

"Poetry Out Loud connects young people with great works of poetry, as the beginning of a lifelong relationship," said Rocco Landesman, recent Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. "Our state arts agencies, schools, and arts organizations work to support the dedicated teachers who inspire their students to begin the journey. A poem can be a powerful force in bringing together a community."

The New Mexico competition was held statewide and 13 schools and almost 1,500 youth and 30 teachers participated at the classroom level.  Schools who will send representatives to the state finals include Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science, Bloomfield High School, Bosque School (Albuquerque), Carlsbad High School, Clovis High School, Deming High School, La Cueva High School (Albuquerque), Las Montañas Charter High School (Las Cruces), Oñate High School (Las Cruces), Public Academy for Performing Arts (Albuquerque), Raton High School, Southwest Secondary Learning Center (Albuquerque), and V. Sue Cleveland High School (Rio Rancho). This year's judges include New Mexico Arts Commissioner Tom Maguire, and poets Jennifer Ferraro, Miriam Sagan,  and Debbi Brody (accuracy judge).

The state winner will receive $200, plus $500 for their school library for the purchase of poetry books, and all expense-paid trip (with adult chaperone) to Washington, DC, to compete at the National Finals.  The National Champion receives $20,000 in prizes.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and state arts agencies.  The New Mexico project of the national poetry recitation contest is sponsored by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through exploration, memorization, and performance.  The inspiration for this program is to promote poetry in both the classroom and the community.  Performers are judged on physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding and accuracy.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is located at 107 W. Palace Ave. in downtown Santa Fe.  For more information, contact Jenice Gharib, New Mexico Arts, at (505) 827-6492 or (800) 879-4278 (statewide), or email JeniceE.Gharib@state.nm.us.

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The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

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