Martin Luther King, Jr. oratory competition announces semifinalists for 25th annual event


Twenty-five Dallas ISD students advance as semifinalists in the 25th Annual Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition as they spoke to the theme, “If Dr. King were alive today, what would he say about Muhammad Ali’s contribution to society?”

Each of the students wrote original essays and competed at the campus level for the opportunity to represent their school in the districtwide competition. Students must be in fourth- or fifth-grade in order to compete and are judged on stage presence, delivery, content interpretation and memorization.

This year in honor of the 25th year of the competition, 25 orators will compete in the semifinals. In previous years, only 15 advanced to this round. The semifinals will be held between 6 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Dallas ISD Administration Building.

Past participants have even delivered their orations to audiences at the local and national level. The 2016 runner-up, Marco Mares, received a full scholarship offer to Paul Quinn College following his poignant speech made at the 2016 Dallas Bar Association’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award Luncheon.

The final competition will be held Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 at the Majestic Theatre and is a free event open to the public. Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP law firm sponsors the annual competition.

Students advancing to the semifinal round are:

Eunice Lemus, Thelma Elizabeth Page Richardson Elementary School
Jordan Mays, Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary School
Semaj Moore, César Chávez Learning Center
Aziah Punch, John Neely Bryan Elementary School
Vijay Bhanot, James Bowie Elementary School School
Asad King, William Brown Miller Elementary School
Taneka Ervin, Clara Oliver Elementary School
Mariana Guerra, Nancy Cochran Elementary School
Ashley Patterson, Harry C. Withers Elementary School
Natalie Salinas, T.G. Terry Elementary School
Makayla Pellum, Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School
Lucy Cestenedy, Arcadia Park Elementary School
Alexandro Hernandez, Reinhardt Elementary School
Shaniya Lewis, Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center
MaKayla Mathews, Thomas Tolbert Elementary School
Sierra Jones, Charles Rice Learning Center
Lola West, K.B. Polk Vanguard Center for Academically Talented and Gifted
Andrea Botho, Frederick Douglass Elementary School
La’Querion Scott, Edward Titche Elementary School
Katie Moreno, Ebby Halliday Elementary School
Mark Canyon, Ronald E. McNair Elementary School
Adrian Ojeda, Urban Park Elementary School
Jace Roberson, J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard
Lacey Sims, Amelia Earhart Learning Center
Ka’Nise Lewis, L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary School


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