Student Scholarship Recipients Announced in 119th Annual Stark Reading Contest

in Schools

During the past five weeks, Local Final Competitions of the 119th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, a program sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, have been held at each Orange County public high school: Bridge City, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Orangefield, Vidor and West Orange-Stark. Between preliminary and Local Final rounds, 100 students competed across the five schools. Winners will advance to the County Final round of the competition.

“We know that a great deal of effort goes into preparing and presenting these selections, and we are extremely proud of all contestants who competed in this year’s contest,” said Hannah Danielson, director of education for The W.H. Stark House.

Each second-place winner in the categories of Declamation and Interpretive Reading was awarded $1,500 in scholarships from the Stark Foundation, while the two first-place winners were awarded $2,000 in scholarships. The first-place winners from each high school will go on to compete at the County Final of the Stark Reading Contest, which is scheduled for Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m. at the Lutcher Theater. Finalists will compete for additional scholarships worth $2,500 and $5,000.

“We look forward to the advanced level of competition that takes place every year at the County Final and invite the community to come out and show their support for our local students,” said Danielson.

Each local final competition was coordinated by the school’s director for the Stark Reading Contest: Melanie Claybar (LCM), Ron Chevalier (OHS), Stacy Webb (Vidor), Mason Franco (WOS) and Hannah Landry (BCHS).

The Stark Reading Contest is sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation as part of its continuing mission to enrich the quality of life in the Orange community and encourage education. The aim of the contest is to enhance the literary and forensic quality and skills of Orange County public high school students. The contest has continued annually since its inception in 1904, which makes the 2022 – 23 school year the 119th annual year of the contest.

Winners at Vidor High School – January 23, 2023
From left to right: Grant Masters (2nd Place in Interpretive Reading), Ashley Callahan (1st Place in Interpretive Reading), Ysela Spencer (1st Place in Declamation), and Addison Biestel (2nd Place in Declamation).


Winners at Orangefield High School – February 2, 2023
From left to right: Kaitlyn Jenkins (1st Place in Declamation), Madeleine Wernig (2nd Place in Declamation), Matthew Whitten (1st Place in Interpretive Reading), and Sadie Prouse (2nd Place in Interpretive Reading).


Winners at West Orange – Stark High School – February 10, 2023
From left to right: Ryan Paz (2nd Place in Declamation), Alexis Baumgartner (1st Place in Declamation), Ciara Dunn (2nd Place in Interpretive Reading), and Camryn Nevils (1st Place in Interpretive Reading).


Winners at Little Cypress – Mauriceville High School – March 5, 2023
From left to right: Abigayle Welch (2nd Place in Interpretive Reading), Sarah Howell (1st Place in Interpretive Reading), Jessica Ridout (1st Place in Declamation), and Gabrielle Moore (2nd Place in Declamation).


Winners at Bridge City High School – March 6, 2023
From left to right: Chloe’ Doyle (2nd Place in Declamation), Ava Gassen (1st Place in Declamation), Raema Lyda (1st Place in Interpretive Reading), and Ava Vicknair (2nd Place in Interpretive Reading).

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