Liberty Bell High School’s Poetry Out Loud competition returns for the seventh year on Dec. 12 at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp. The free event begins at 6 p.m.

As in the past, the competition will feature about a dozen students from Liberty Bell and the Independent Learning Center, who will advance to the Dec. 12 finals from previous competitive rounds in their high school classes.

Each competitor at The Merc will recite two poems selected from a list provided by the national Poetry Out Loud organization.

A panel of judges will score each student’s performance, and the highest-scoring student will be the winner. Another judge will check the accuracy of each reading.

The local Poetry Out Loud winner advances to the Eastern Regional Championships in Spokane, with a chance to move on from there to the state championships in Tacoma next March.

Mackenzie Woodworth, last year’s local winner, advanced to the state championships from the Eastern Regional competition.

Previous winners in the local competition were Mia Stratman in 2016, Lillian Cooley in 2015, Claire Waichler in 2014, Liam Daily in 2013 and the late Tom Zbyszewski in 2012.

The contest is coordinated by Liberty Bell English teacher Kelly Grayum. Thome George is the students’ performance coach. The Public School Funding Alliance and Methow Arts provide grants to support a performance coach.

The competition is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization.