The 2016 winners of the school-level competition held March 7, at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School were from left: Vincent Hale: first place, Declamation; Sydney Smith: second place, Declamation; Connor Alexander: first place, Interpretive Reading; Kaylee Patillo: Second place, Interpretive Reading.

Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School students Vincent Hale and Connor Alexander earned first place in Declamation and Interpretive Reading, respectively, at the school-level finals of the 112th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, a scholarship program sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.

On Sunday, March 6, Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School students competed in the local-level contest, which was coordinated by Melanie Claybar, Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School teacher and school director for the Stark Reading Contest. Hale won first place in Declamation with “Commencement Address at Stanford University” by Steve Jobs, while Alexander won first place in Interpretive Reading with his presentation of an excerpt from “The Tell-Tale Heart”by Edgar Allan Poe. Second place in Declamation went to Sydney Smith, with Kaylee Patillo receiving second-place honors in Interpretive Reading.

Stark Reading Contest 2016 preliminary participant, Christopher Cook, served as the emcee for the Little Cypress-Mauriceville competition. Kristine Brown, Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School Assistant Principal, presented awards to the 2015-16 school-level contest winners.

Each second-place winner 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 West Orange-Stark High School will go on to compete against the first-place winners from other participating Orange County public high schools at the County Final of the Stark Reading Contest, which is scheduled for Sunday, April 24, at 2:00 p.m. at the Lutcher Theater.

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 2015-16 school year the 112th annual year of the Contest. In addition to offering educational opportunities and experiences for students at eligible Orange County public high schools, participating students may earn scholarship awards for continued education.