Southeastern News

Southeastern’s Allen Fritts takes top prize in Norton Anthology poetry reading contest

Allen Fritts

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University junior Allen Fritts has earned first place honors in the Norton Anthology Publishing Group’s world-wide oral interpretation (poetry reading) contest.

In the competition, Fritts was one of three finalists with his recitation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee.” The other finalists were from Elmira (NY) College and Western Michigan University.


The contest was opened to a world-wide on-line vote with the Norton Group making the final decision.

Fritts is a junior pre-med major from Mililani, Hawaii, Oahu High School. He was selected Outstanding Freshman and Top General Chemistry student in 2010 and awarded the Kaiser Scholarship Award in 2011.

“This is a great honor for Allen and the entire University,’’ said Southeastern president Larry Minks. “This type of recognition reflects the quality of work produced by our students, faculty, and staff. Everyone who contributed deserves our congratulations on a job well done.’’

A student in Skip Robinson’s Center for Rhetoric and Professional Development, Fritts volunteered to enter the contest outside of his class schedule.

“As much hard work as I put into this, there are five other groups of people who deserve recognition for this great honor,’’ Fritts said. “First are all the people who supported me verbally and through voting.  Second are my wonderful collegiate level speech teachers, professor Robinson and Dr. (Lacinda) Brese-LeBron, who greatly improved my confidence and ability when speaking in public.  Third is Dr. (Meg) Cotter-Lynch for suggesting this contest.  Fourth is my mother, who taught me everything during my entire pre-collegiate learning career and encouraged me throughout this whole process.  Finally, and this is perhaps the most important of all, recognition and all praise go to Christ, who made me with an ability to speak.  Without Him, I am nothing.”

“Allen Fritts is a talented, hard-working young man who deserves such a high honor,’’ Robinson said. “He accepted this challenge in addition to a demanding pre-med academic schedule. Allen’s performance proves that our Southeastern students can compete successfully in any venue, even the world-wide stage.  The University administration, faculty, staff and students share in his accomplishment through mentoring, filming and transmission of video (Wayne Williamson and Dina Roman), and voting.   In a sense, it is a victory and recognition for the entire Southeastern family.’’
College and high school students were invited to submit an original video recitation between September 15 and November 1. Eligible submissions were judged by W. W. Norton in-house editors, who selected finalists for each of the works.