The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation congratulates the winners of the 2015 County Finals of the 111th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation. On Sunday, April 26, students who had previously won first place at the various local level competitions held at each of the five Orange County public high schools competed in the categories of Declamation and Interpretive Reading at the County Finals held at the Lutcher Theater.

Vidor High School’s Madison Marino won 1st place in Declamation, while Vincent Hale of Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School won 1st place in Interpretive Reading. Both students received a $5,000 scholarship for their 1st place awards. For her Declamation, Marino presented the speech UN Earth Summit by Severn Suzuki. Hale’s reading wasThe Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe.

Second place in Declamation went to Emily Lawrence of Bridge City High School for her delivery of Arrogance of Power by Robert C. Byrd. West Orange-Stark High School’s Claydra Rhodes took 2nd place in Interpretive Reading with her reading from Rizpah by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Each second-place winner received a $2,500 scholarship. Both first and second-place winners were also presented with plaques.

Walter G. Riedel III, Stark Foundation President and CEO, presented all County Final contestants with commemorative watches, which is a long-held tradition of the Stark Reading Contest.

More than 75 students participated in the school levels of this year’s Stark Reading Contest, which is sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.  “The contest was very competitive this year, and we congratulate the county winners, all local level winners, and all finalists for their outstanding accomplishments,” said Stark Reading Contest Coordinator, Lindsey Fontenot. “We also thank all participants for their efforts and support. I also want to applaud the work and time of the school directors from the participating schools. The support of Evellyn Elliott (West Orange-Stark H.S.), Ron Chevalier (Orangefield H.S.), Melanie Claybar (Little Cypress-Mauriceville H.S.), Anne Lilyquist (Vidor H.S.) and Kathie Dorman (Bridge City H.S.) are critical in making this program a success.”

2015 Stark Reading Contest County Final Winners: Vincent Hale (1st place in Interpretive Reading), Claydra Rhodes (2nd place in Interpretive Reading), Madison Marino (1st place in Declamation) and Emily Lawrence(2nd place in Declamation).Each first-place winner will receive $5,000 in scholarship awards; second-place winners each receive $2,500 in scholarship awards.


Contestants in the County Final of the 111th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation. From L-R: Chase Slaughter (OHS), Alana Jones (VHS), Ariel Scogin (BCHS), Claydra Rhodes (WOSHS), Vincent Hale (LCMHS), Madison Marino (VHS), Emily Lawrence (BCHS), Grant Anderson (WOSHS), Spencer Johns (LCMHS) and Thanh Tsan(OHS).

Photo at top right – Vincent Hale (LCMHS) and Madison Marino (VHS) took first place at the County Final of the 2015 Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation. Each will receive $5,000 in scholarship awards.