Wesley Stoker, a fourth-grader from Harry C. Withers Elementary School, took the top honors in the 26th Annual Gardere MLK Oratory Competition.
Eight finalists competed on Friday, Jan. 12, at W.H. Adamson High School. The students wrote their own speeches and delivered them based on their answer to the question, “What is your dream for today’s world?” The theme was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Stoker used a refrain in his speech that tied into the theme. “I may not look like Dr. King,” he said. “But I believe like Dr. King.”
Second place went to Skye Turner, a fourth-grader at Charles Rice Learning Center. Placing third was Jeremiah Wilson, a fourth-grader at Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary School.
Five judges scored the finalists. They were Jason Downing, North Texas managing parter, Deloitte; District 7 City Councilman Kevin Fielder; 194th Judicial District Court Judge Ernest White; Justice Bill Whitehill of the Texas 5th District Court of Appeals; and Micheal Williams, founder and president of 3i.
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa congratulated finalists before the competition began. He related the story of a previous MLK Oratory winner, Dalton Sherman, whose speech at a Dallas ISD convocation afterward gave him national recognition.
The jazz orchestra from O.W. Holmes Middle School provided music as guests arrived, and the David W. Carter High School Choir entertained the crowd as judges deliberated afterward.
Clarice Tinsley of Fox 4 News served as Mistress of Ceremonies.