BEST OF VIDEO: Student wins MLK Oratory Competition with a call to end violence


“We must infuse our thoughts with love,” urged Etana King, winner of the 2015 Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition. Etana, a fifth-grade student at John Neely Bryan Elementary, was crowned the top orator after delivering an inspirational speech sharing her thoughts on what Martin Luther King Jr. would say in his acceptance speech if he were alive today and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

“We must not use our arms to take up weapons that harm and destroy; instead we must use them to embrace our differences,” she continued.

The inspiring words of eight students rang out across the legendary Majestic Theatre in downtown Dallas as they took the stage to deliver their essays in front of a panel of judges during the 23rd annual event. Clarice Tinsley from KDFW Fox-TV served as the moderator. Dallas ISD Board of Trustees President Miguel Solis greeted the students.

The general theme woven throughout the vast majority of the speeches was a call to end violence and injustice across the nation with a plea to all people to work together to solve these issues.

Etana will now begin a whirlwind of appearances beginning with WFAA Channel 8 at 4 p.m. today, Jan. 16.

Runners-up are:

  • Second place, Camilla Meza, fifth grade, Thomas Tolbert Elementary
  • Third place, Hanna Wesley, fifth grade, Charles Rice Learning Center

Other finalists include:

  • Kywin Brown, fourth grade, Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary
  • Serenity Dugan, fourth grade, Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary
  • Jalien Hedgeman, fifth grade, Clara Oliver Elementary
  • Walker Homan, fifth grade, Harry C. Withers Elementary
  • Aisha Young, fifth grade, William Brown Miller Elementary

The MLK Oratory Competition is sponsored by the Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP law firm.


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