(ORANGE, Texas) – Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School students Connor Alexander and Kaylee Patillo earned first place in Declamation and Interpretive Reading, respectively, at the school-level finals of the 113th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, a scholarship program sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.
On February 26, 2017, 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. Alexander won first place in Declamation with the Jimmy Carter speech A Crisis of Confidence, while Patillo won first place in Interpretive Reading with her presentation of an excerpt from The Diary of Anne Frank. Second place in Declamation went to Jordan Alexander, with Elijah Ridout receiving second-place honors in Interpretive Reading.

Stark Reading Contest 2016 preliminary participants Reagan Hambrick and Ashley Knight served as the emcees for the Little Cypress-Mauriceville competition. Todd Loupe, Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School Principal, presented awards to the 2016-17 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 Little Cypress-Mauriceville 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 23, 2017 at 2 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 2016-17 school year the 113th 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.