Some of Orange County’s sharpest high schoolers get ready for Stark Reading Contest County Final

Published 11:14 am Monday, April 17, 2023

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Community members can show their support for local students as they compete for best presentation and earn scholarships in the 119th year of the Stark Reading Contest.

The program is sponsored by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, students who have won first place at the various local level competitions held at each of the five Orange County public high schools will compete in the categories of Declamation and Interpretive Reading.

The second place winners in each category receive a $2,500 scholarship, and each first place winner receives a $5,000 scholarship.

Each finalist also receives an engraved watch, in keeping with a time honored tradition of the contest.

“For more than a century, we have had the honor of sponsoring this literary contest for local students. These students work hard to prepare for this competition and we are very proud of their determination and skill level,” said Hannah Danielson, director of education for The W.H. Stark House.

Lutcher Stark is shown acknowledging a past student winner recipient. (Courtesy photo)

During the past months, Local Final Competitions of the 119th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation have been held at Bridge City, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Orangefield, Vidor and West Orange-Stark high schools.

Between preliminary and Local Final rounds, 100 students competed across the five schools.

Each second-place winner in the categories of Declamation and Interpretive Reading was awarded $1,500 in scholarships, while the two first-place winners at each school were awarded $2,000 in scholarships.

The first-place winners advanced to the County Final where they will compete for the top scholarship awards.

The aim of the contest is to enhance the literary and forensic quality and skills of Orange County public high school students.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Stark Reading Contest or the Stark Foundation, please visit