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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston Independent School District
News Release
Thursday, January 12, 2012

Twelve HISD Students Offer Their Best Oration In Salute to Dr. Martin Luther King
The 16 annual oratory contest takes place at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Downtown

Twelve HISD schools offer their best student speakers to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King through speech. The 16th Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition takes place this Friday, January 13th from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the historic Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. The church is located at 500 Clay Avenue, in Downtown Houston.  The inspirational message and well-honed delivery of these students has become a Holiday tradition in the city of Houston.

“Dr. King demonstrated that the power of the spoken word can have a profound effect on how we view our world” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “It’s amazing to see how the long hours spent developing speeches and delivery style also has a wonderful and lasting effects on all the students who chose to participate. Good Luck!”

"Year after year, students offer insightful interpretations on the state of current events and their high hopes for the world in which they live today, just as Dr. King successfully demonstrated years ago," said Claude Treece, Gardere operating partner and event chair, who has been actively involved with the competition since its inaugural year. "Not only does the oratory competition allow elementary students the opportunity to gain confidence and skills that will prove beneficial as they mature into adulthood, but it also gives them a voice to reflect on the dreams of the late civil rights leader in a way that is relatable to their peers and the community at large."

During the month of October, early rounds of the competition were held at area schools.  From those rounds 12 students were picked to compete in the final round.  Those students and their schools are:  

Myron Gillum              Thompson ES
Kevin Kabanda            Bruce ES
Santos Lopez               Anderson ES
Matthias McBride        Pleasantville ES
Eula Pearson                Whidby ES
Dinochi Sandifer         Windsor Village ES
Gabriel Seyoum           Lockhart ES
Jennifer Soto               Golfcrest ES
Annete Villegas           Rodriguez ES
Samaya Watson           Macgregor ES
Triniti West                  Dodson ES
Donovan Williams       Cornelius ES

The speeches, not to exceed five minutes, will address the topic: "As a student of Dr. King's life, what message of hope do you think he would have for the world today?" Students are judged on their delivery, stage presence and decorum, content interpretation, and memorization. 

The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States with 298 schools and more than 200,000 students. The 301-square-mile district is one of the largest employers in the Houston metropolitan area with nearly 30,000 employees.

Ocean Star

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