Ten Bridge City finalists entertained judges and audience members Sunday with the presentation of speeches and readings in interpretive literature for the 106th Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation. 

The five finalists in Declamation were Meredith Miller, Cody Banken, Jordan Smith, Alexis Prestwood, and Jacqueline Hernandez. The second-place winner was freshman Jordan Smith with a speech by Elie Wiesel entitled “Keep Memory Alive,” and the first-place winner was sophomore Cody Banken, delivering General Douglas MacArthur’s “Duty, Honor, Country.” 

In Interpretative Reading, the five finalists were Melina Ledezma, Shanna Miller, Melissa Pittman, Jake Dionne, and Catelyn Myers. Winning second-place was freshman Shanna Miller with an excerpt from “Gone With The Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, and taking first place was junior Jake Dionne reading a selection from “Innocents Abroad” by Mark Twain. 

Each second-place winner will receive a $1,500 university scholarship. The two first-place winners will receive a $2,000 university scholarship and the chance to continue in the competition for another $7,500. The $7,000 awarded to four BCHS students is part of the Stark Foundation scholarship fund. 

Cody and Jake will now compete in the county-wide finals against the first-place winners from each of the four other county schools. This competition will be held at at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 25 at the Lutcher Theater.