Stark Reading Contest scholarship winners celebrated

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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The Board of Directors and administrative staff of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation wish to congratulate the winners of the 2024 County Finals of the 120th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation.

On April 28, students who 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 Final held at the Lutcher Theater.

First place winners were awarded $5,000 and second place winners were awarded $2,500.

“It is always an honor to work with these exceptionally talented students from Orange County,” said Jennifer Dickinson, executive director for Stark Art & History Venues. “We wish them the best of luck on their future college endeavors.”

Vidor High School’s Elyse Walker won first place in Declamation for her presentation of “Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave,” and Mariana Gonzales from West-Orange Stark High School won first place in Interpretive Reading for her presentation of “Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic.”

Second place in Declamation went to Hannah Edwards of Bridge City High School for her delivery of “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace.

Orangefield High School’s Catalina Lawley took second place in Interpretive Reading with her reading from “Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin.

Clyde “Tad” McKee, Stark Foundation president and CEO, presented all County Final contestants with commemorative watches, which is a long-held tradition of the Stark Reading Contest.

For more information about the Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, please visit

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.