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HISD students perform speeches at MLK Oratory Competition

HOUSTON – Twelve Houston Independent School District students performed their speeches Friday morning at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition. 

The competition features students, fourth- and fifth-graders, who wrote and will present a short original speech that envisions King's message in today's world. HISD said "students are judged based on delivery, stage presence and decorum, content interpretation, and memorization."

The theme of this year's competition is "If Dr. King were alive today, what would he say about Muhammad Ali's contribution to society?"

The 12 finalists are:

  • Olutobi Adeyeri, Valley West Elementary School
  • Zyahra Barnes, Windsor Village Elementary School
  • Alan Cabanas, Anderson Elementary School
  • Mariyah Calvin, Bruce Elementary School
  • Jazell Coleman, Thompson Elementary School
  • Jernee Craig, Whidby Elementary School
  • Sebastian Garza, Cornelius Elementary School
  • Nhedrick Jabier, Crespo Elementary School
  • Thomas Johnson, Burrus Elementary School
  • Leana McGee, Lockhart Elementary School
  • Kamarah Pennamon, Blackshear Elementary School
  • Caitlyn Thompson, Pleasantville Elementary School

The winner will receive a $1,000 prize, while second place will receive $500 and third place will receive $200. The other finalists will receive a $100 award.

The competition runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ at 500 Clay Street.