Twenty-Two HISD Students Advance to Foley’s 27th Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition Semifinals

09 December 2022 Media Contact: Jen Dilworth News

Twenty-two fourth- and fifth-grade students from Houston ISD elementary schools have been selected to advance to the semifinals for Foley & Lardner LLP’s 27th Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition in Houston. The semifinals are scheduled to take place on December 9 at 9 a.m. at Thompson Elementary School.

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, Foley’s MLK Jr. Oratory Competition is designed to highlight the cultural diversity and talent of the Houston community while recognizing and encouraging the writing and public speaking skills of elementary school students. Hosted and sponsored by Foley, the competition invites local students to present original three-to-five minute speeches addressing the topic: What would Dr. King say to us today about hope for tomorrow?”

Students advancing to the semifinal round include:                              

  • Za’via Wilson, 5th Grade, Atherton Elementary
  • Jordan Lynch, 5th Grade, Bastian Elementary
  • Arianna Guillory, 5th Grade, Blackshear Elementary
  • Ellis Britton, 4th Grade, Briarmeadow Elementary
  • Persephone Stevenson, 4th Grade, Burnet Elementary
  • Masyn Mourning, 4th Grade, Burrus Elementary
  • Marquise Ambers, 5th Grade, Cornelius Elementary
  • Keinner De LeÓn, 5th Grade, Crespo Elementary
  • Abigail Oliver, 4th Grade , Foster Elementary
  • Kadence Smith, 4th Grade, James H. Law Elementary
  • Rosemary Nwaosuagwu, 5th Grade, Kate Bell Elementary
  • Angel Lopez, 4th Grade, Kelso Elementary
  • Violet Narvaez, 5th Grade, Ketelsen Elementary
  • Hannibal Trent, 4th Grade, MacGregor Elementary
  • Kowin McCormick, 5th Grade, Pleasantville Elementary
  • Kennedi Robinson, 5th Grade, Reynolds Elementary
  • Camila Alfaro, 4th Grade, Sutton Elementary
  • Zaria Jones, 5th Grade, Thompson Elementary
  • Joy Nsude, 4th Grade, Valley West Elem entary
  • Xavier Holmes Jr., 5th Grade, Windsor Village Elementary
  • Alaina Madden, 5th Grade, Woodson Elementary
  • Journey Sensley, 5th Grade, Young Elementary

The competition kicked off in October with in-school qualifying rounds, which were judged by representatives from Foley. During the semifinal round on December 9, 12 finalists will be selected to advance to the final competition to be held on January 13, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ. Criteria for judging include delivery, stage presence and decorum, content interpretation and memorization. Finalists will receive a monetary award, participation plaque and other gifts.

Created in Dallas in 1993, the event’s success led to the establishment of the Houston competition in 1997 and the Chicago competition in 2020. Past winners and participants have delivered their speeches to numerous local and national organizations, including MLK Day appearances at the House of Blues. They have also appeared on local and national television programs, including CBS’ The Early Show, Fox 26 News, Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

To engage with and stay up to date on this year’s competition, please use #FoleyMLK.

About Foley & Lardner LLP

Foley & Lardner LLP is a preeminent law firm that stands at the nexus of the energy, health care and life sciences, innovative technology, and manufacturing sectors. We look beyond the law to focus on the constantly evolving demands facing our clients and act as trusted business advisors to deliver creative, practical, and effective solutions. Our 1,100 lawyers across 25 offices worldwide partner on the full range of engagements from corporate counsel to IP work and litigation support, providing our clients with a one-team solution to all their needs. For nearly two centuries, Foley has maintained its commitment to the highest level of innovative legal services and to the stewardship of our people, firm, clients, and the communities we serve.