2018 Stark Reading Contest County Final Winners

2018 contest winners (from left) Carissa Slaughter (1st place, Declamation); Essence Landry (2nd place, Declamation); Jezlyn Matlock (1stplace, Interpretive Reading); and Madison Day (2nd place, Interpretive Reading).

The Board of Directors and administrative staff of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation congratulate the winners of the 2018 County Finals of the 114th Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation. Sunday, April 29, 2018, 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.

Bridge City High School’s Carissa Slaughter won 1st place in Declamation, while Jezlyn Matlock of Orangefield High School won 1st place in Interpretive Reading. Both students received a $5,000 scholarship for their 1st place awards. For her Declamation, Slaughter presented the speech The Solitude of Selfby Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Matlock’s reading was Hearts and Handsby O. Henry.

Second place in Declamation went to Essence Landry of West Orange-Stark High School for her delivery of Hypocrisy of American Slaveryby Frederick Douglass. Bridge City High School’s Madison Day took 2nd place in Interpretive Reading with her reading from Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It. 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.

More than 100 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 Shannon King (Bridge City H.S.) is critical in making this program a success.”

About the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation

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, the Frances Ann Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts, and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, as well as the Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, a qualified scholarship program for public high school students in Orange County, Texas. Programming is designed to create, and build upon, an appreciation within the community for the fine arts, Stark family history, the performing arts, environmental stewardship, and public speaking.

These venues, programs and activities provide the community and region with rich resources and opportunities for study and enjoyment of the arts, history and nature.

— Stark Foundation