(ORANGE, Texas) – West Orange-Stark High School students Essence Landry and Manuel Franklin earned first place in Declamation and Interpretive Reading, respectively, at the school-level finals of the 114th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, a scholarship program sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.
On Tuesday, March 20, 2018, West Orange-Stark High School students competed in the local-level contest, which was coordinated by Jennifer Clarke, West Orange-Stark High School teacher and school director for the Stark Reading Contest. Landry won first place in Declamation with Frederick Douglass’s speech Hypocrisy of American Slavery, while Franklin won first place in Interpretive Reading with his presentation of poems by Langston Hughes. Second place in Declamation went to Ja’Coven Hinson, with Baylee Kibodeaux receiving second-place honors in Interpretive Reading.
Mrs. Clarke helped serve as the emcee for the competition. Wilt Alexander, Principal at West Orange-Stark High School, assisted in presenting awards to the 2017-18 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 29, 2018 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 2017-18 school year the 114th 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.