Twelve HISD Students Advance to Foley’s 27th Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition Finals

21 December 2022 Media Contact: Jen Dilworth News

Twelve fourth- and fifth-grade students from Houston ISD elementary schools have been selected to advance to the finals for Foley & Lardner LLP’s 27th Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition in Houston. The finals are scheduled to take place on January 13, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ.

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 final round include:                               

  • Arianna Guillory, 5th Grade, Blackshear Elementary
  • Ellis Britton, 4th Grade, Briarmeadow Elementary
  • Masyn Mourning, 4th Grade, Burrus Elementary
  • Marquise Ambers, 5th Grade, Cornelius Elementary
  • Keinner De LeÓn, 5th Grade, Crespo Elementary
  • Kadence Smith, 5th Grade, James H. Law Elementary
  • Kowin McCormick, 5th Grade, Pleasantville Elementary
  • Camila Alfaro, 4th Grade, Sutton Elementary
  • Zaria Jones, 5th Grade, Thompson Elementary
  • Joy Nsude, 4th Grade, Valley West Elementary
  • Xavier Holmes Jr., 5th Grade, Windsor Village 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 were selected to advance to the final competition. 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.

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