West Virginia high schools have until Dec. 1 to sign up for 'Poetry Out Loud' competition

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CHARLESTON, West Virginia — High school students across West Virginia have the chance to participate in a poetry competition that could land them a trip to the nation's capital.

The "Poetry Out Loud" contest features students memorizing and reciting poetry for an audience. Beside the joy of poetry, the competition also helps students develop public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

Dec. 1 is the deadline to register with the state Division of Culture and History. The competition begins at the school level, with winners advancing to the March state competition in Charleston.

Winners from each state and U.S. territory compete at the national finals in Washington next April.

The state champion receives $200 and a trip to the national finals. Their school also receives $500 to purchase poetry books.

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