Ten high school students – four of them from Albuquerque – will compete Sunday, Feb. 22 in the state finals of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest.

The competition starts at 1 p.m. in St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art, 107 W. Palace Ave., Santa Fe. The event is free and open to the public.

The four from Albuquerque schools are Lucas Smathers of the Public Academy for Performing Arts, Alex Wiesel of the Southwest Secondary Learning Center, Vivian Li of The Bosque School, Michelle Zhou of La Cueva High School.

The other six are Andrew Pierce of Carlsbad High School, Isaac Ramos of Deming High School, Ryan Szeto of Hiroshi Miyamura High School, Gallup, Brad Martinez of Onate High School, Las Cruces, Katie Delgado of Los Alamos High School, and Rachel Patty of Raton High School.

The New Mexico winner will receive $200, an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals and $500 for their school’s library to buy poetry books.

The national champion receives $20,000 in prizes.

Contestants are judged on physical presence, voice, articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, accuracy, evidence of understanding and the level of the poem’s complexity.

Contestants recite a great poem of the past or present, said Robert Polito, president of the Poetry Foundation.

The program encourages youth to learn about great poems and promotes poetry in the classroom and in the community.