Twenty-two fourth- and fifth-grade students from Dallas ISD elementary schools have been selected to advance to the semifinals for Foley & Lardner LLP’s 31st Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition. The semifinals are scheduled to take place from 6-8:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 at W.H. Adamson High 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 Dallas 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:
- Lenzie Loud, 5th Grade, Adelle Turner Elementary
- Aubrey Cardoza, 5th Grade, Arturo Salazar Elementary
- Adrian Rojas, 5th Grade, Arturo Salazar Elementary
- Kennedy Smith, 4th Grade, Charles Rice Learning Center
- Zaleeia Brown, 5th Grade, Clara Oliver Elementary
- Eric McKinney, 4th Grade, Clara Oliver Elementary
- Janiyah Leavy, 5th Grade, Elisha M. Pease Elementary
- Mohammed Mohammed, 5th Grade, Elisha M. Pease Elementary
- Khy’Lea Miller, 5th Grade, Frederick Douglass Elementary
- Hudson Kahle, 5th Grade, Harry C. Withers Elementary
- Leilani Lewis, 4th Grade, Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary
- Bria Hader, 5th Grade, J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard
- Mayah Tomas, 5th Grade, J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard
- Cassandra Curan, 5th Grade, K.B. Polk Center for the Academically Talented and Gifted
- Yarery Johnson, 5th Grade, L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary
- Derriona Beck, 5th Grade, Martin Luther King, Jr. Arts Academy
- Drew White, Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center
- Eli Reed Wilson, 4th Grade, Solar Preparatory School for Boys
- Zihair Douglas, 5th Grade, T.L. Marsalis Elementary
- Daniella Mitchell, 5th Grade, Thomas Tolbert Elementary
- Arayah Gordon, 5th Grade, Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary
- Ella Atkins, 5th Grade, Walnut Hill Elementary
The competition kicked off in November with virtual qualifying rounds, which were judged by representatives from Foley. During the semifinal round on Dec. 6, eight finalists will be selected to advance to the final competition from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2023, at W.H. Adamson High School. 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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