2017 Stark Reading Contest County Final Winners announced

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Special to The Leader

The Board of Directors and administrative staff of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation congratulate the winners of the 2017 County Finals of the 113th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation. On Sunday, April 23, 2017, 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.

Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School’s Connor Alexander won 1st place in Declamation, while Bree Cloud of Bridge City High School won 1st place in Interpretive Reading. Both students received a $5,000 scholarship for their 1st place awards. For his Declamation, Alexander presented the speech A Crisis of Confidence by Jimmy Carter. Cloud’s reading was I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olson.

Second place in Declamation went to Brandon Curl of Bridge City High School for his delivery of The Perils of Indifference by Elie Wiesel. Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School’s Kaylee Patillo took 2nd place in Interpretive Reading with her reading from The Diary of Anne Frank. Each second-place winner received a $2,500 scholarship. Both first and second-place winners were also presented with plaques.

Clyde V. McKee 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.

Contestants in the County Finals of the 113th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation. From L-R: Connor Alexander (LCMHS), Brandon Curl (BCHS), E’Laziah Nickerson (WOSHS), Gillian Grant (VHS), Brayden Berry (OHS), Wyndie Williams (WOSHS), Kaylee Patillo (LCMHS), Bree Cloud (BCHS), Ryan Posey (OHS) and Johnny Hall (VHS).

More than 105 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. “I want to congratulate the county winners, all local level winners, and all finalists for their outstanding accomplishments, as this year was a truly fantastic contest” said Stark Reading Contest Coordinator, Drew Whatley. “All participants, from the school preliminaries to the County Final, should be applauded for their hard work and effort. The time and work of the local school directors help make this contest possible. The support of Jennifer Clarke (West Orange-Stark H.S.), Ron Chevalier (Orangefield H.S.), Melanie Claybar (Little Cypress-Mauriceville H.S.), Adam Conrad (Vidor H.S.) and Kathie Dorman (Bridge City H.S.) is critical in making this program a success.”

2017 Stark Reading Contest County Finals Winners. From L-R: Connor Alexander (1st place, Declamation); Brandon Curl (2nd place, Declamation); Bree Cloud (1st place, Interpretive Reading); and Kaylee Patillo (2nd place, Interpretive Reading). Each first-place winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award for their County Finals win; second-place winners each receive a $2,500 scholarship award.

The Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation is sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation as part of its continuing mission to enrich the community and encourage education. The aim of the Stark Reading Contest is to enhance the literary and forensic quality and skills of the students. The Contest has continued annually since its inception in 1904 and offers educational opportunities and experiences for students at Orange County public high schools.

The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation is a private operating foundation established in 1961 to encourage and assist education and to improve and enrich the quality of life in Southeast Texas. The Stark Foundation seeks to continue the legacy of its founders through the programs of the Stark Museum of Art; The W.H. Stark House; Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center; the Frances Ann Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts; and the Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation. These venues provide the community and region with rich resources and opportunities for study and enjoyment of the arts, history and nature.