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OP-ED: Honoring our students achievements

Dr. Rickie R. Harris
West Orange – Cove CISD Superintendent

At WOCCISD, we like to celebrate our students and their achievements. This week I would like to honor high school students Alicia Odom and Lance Parks on their successes at the 2021 Stark Reading Contest.

Alicia Odom placed first in the county-wide competition in Interpretive Reading for her performance of The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde. Miss Odom will be awarded a commemorative watch and $5000 in scholarship money. This year marks the first time a WOS student has placed first in this program since 2006. We are so proud of this accomplishment! Additionally, she is a sophomore at West Orange-Stark High School, a member of the Early College High School and National Honor Society, participates in UIL Theatre One Act Play, UIL Prose, UIL Math, UIL Science, Student Council, and Book Club.

Furthermore, Lance Parks competed in the Declamation category and was awarded a Citizen Watch for his performance.  Mr. Parks read We Shall Fight On The Beaches by Winston Churchill. As a junior, he is also a dual credit student and participates in UIL Theatre One Act Play, UIL Prose, and UIL math.

I want to commend Mr. Mason Franco for his hard work serving as the academic coach for all the students that competed in the Contest. He has been the Stark Reading Director for WOSHS for three years now and worked with Alicia and Lance daily after school for several months until their contest performance.

WOSH had ten students enter our local Contest (5 in each category), and from there, only two students (1st place in each category), Alicia and Lance, advanced to the County Finals.

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 Contest aims 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 2020-21 school year the 117th 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.

Programs in our community such as the Stark Reading Contest help our students to excel, and we believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness!”

Dr. Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD.