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Students encouraged to enter poetry contest

In recognition of the Month of the Military Child and National Poetry Month in April, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced that he is hosting his third annual poetry contest for Minnesota students. The theme of this year’s contest is “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life.”

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“With the Iraq war over and America’s role in Afghanistan winding down, there are thousands of students all across Minnesota who truly understand the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for our country,” said Franken. “Some of them are children of current service members, while others know men and women who have served. This poetry contest will allow students to honor those veterans and to put into their own words what those sacrifices have meant to them.”

The contest is open to all children of military families in Minnesota grades K-12. There are three age categories: kindergarten to 6th grade, 7th to 9th grades and 10th to 12th grades.

Winners will be chosen in each age category. Those selected will receive an invitation to attend a reception at Franken’s St. Paul office.

Guests include Franken; Minnesota commissioner of veterans’ affairs, Larry Shellito; Minnesota poet laureate, Joyce Sutphen; Minnesota National Guard major general, Rick Nash; and Minnesota education commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

Top winning poems in each category will be framed and displayed in Franken’s offices in St. Paul or Washington, D.C.

The overall winner in each age group will receive an autographed book by Minnesota author Garrison Keillor.

Participants may submit only one entry, with a maximum word count of 250 words. Each entry must include the name of the child, the parent/guardian’s name, a phone number and the name of the child’s school. Clearly indicate the participant’s age category.

To participate in the poetry contest, submit a poem by Friday, April 18 to or by mail to Office of Sen. Al Franken, Poetry Contest, 60 Plato Boulevard East, Suite 220, St. Paul, MN 55107.