Three Charleston County students are among nine finalists statewide who will compete in the South Carolina Arts Commission's 2013-2014 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.

The three local finalists are Nicole Sadek, a sophomore at Charleston County School of the Arts; Sarah Moody, a senior at Ashley Hall; and Gabbey Byrd, a junior at First Baptist Church High School.

Those students, along with six others from across the state, will advance to the March 15 state finals to compete for South Carolina's spot in the national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship.

The state champion receives $200, a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books for his or her school library, and an all-expense-paid trip to the national finals. The runner-up receives $100 and a $200 poetry book stipend for his or her school library.

Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form.

Regional partners include the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts.