West Orange-Stark High School students Grant Anderson and Claydra Rhodes earned first place in Declamation and Interpretive Reading, respectively, at the school-level finals of the 111th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, a scholarship program sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.

On March 11, West Orange-Stark High School students competed in the local-level contest, which was coordinated by Evelynn Elliott, West Orange-Stark High School teacher and school director for the Stark Reading Contest. Anderson won first place in Declamation with I’ve Been to the Mountain Top by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while Rhodes won first place in Interpretive Reading with her presentation of an excerpt from Rizpah by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Second place in Declamation went to Jared Dupree, with Jackson Dallas receiving second-place honors in Interpretive Reading.

West Orange-Stark High School students Sadie Greer and Nathan Hayes served as the emcees for the West Orange-Stark competition. Ronald Wright, West Orange-Stark High School Academic Coordinator, presented awards to the 2014-15 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 forTuesday, April 28, at 6:00 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 2014-15 school year the 111th 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.

Pictured are the 2015 winners of the school-level competition held March 11, 2015 at West Orange-Stark High School. From left are Grant Anderson, 1st place, Declamation; Jared Dupree, 2nd place, Declamation; Claydra Rhodes, 1st place, Interpretive Reading and Jackson Dallas, 2nd place, Interpretive Reading.