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Jerniya Richardson

Jerniya Richardson, center, a fifth grad student at Marshall Elementary School, won the 2018 MLK Oratory Competition in February, 2018.

Students from seven elementary schools in Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 will compete in the finals of the sixth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at New Mount Zion Church in Orangeburg. Admission to the MLK Jr. Oratory Competition is free and open to the public and individuals and groups are encouraged to attend this special event.

The purpose of the competition is to provide the district’s fourth and fifth grade students with the opportunity to learn to use their voices to motivate and inspire others through the art of public speaking. In addition, the students will gain a greater understanding of history through their research and preparation for the competition.

“The MLK Oratory Competition is one of the showcase events that our district shares with the community. I invite everyone to come and see these students shine with their entertaining and inspirational performances,” According to OCSD5 Superintendent Dr. Jesse Washington,

Preliminary competitions have been completed at each elementary school to determine the school level winners who will represent their schools in the final competition. The oratory competition features fourth and fifth grade students who prepare and present speeches of up to five minutes on a specific topic. The speeches must be memorized and recited out loud. The topic for the Oratory Competition this year will be focused on this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

The students who will be competing in the final round of the MLK Jr. Oratory Competition are: Zanyiah Pelzer (Bethune-Bowman Elementary School), Amber Corley (Brookside Elementary School), Ke’Asha Robinson (Dover Elementary School), Judah Patrick (Marshall Elementary School), Hayward Jean (Mellichamp Elementary School), Tyleah Owens (Sheridan Elementary School), and Karen Cruz Avendano (Whittaker Elementary School).

The judges for the competition will be Mayor Michael C. Butler, retired educator Jannelle Mitchell, Chamber of Commerce President Reyne Moore, Sheriff Leroy Ravenell and SCSU Research Director Dr. Louis Whitesides.

The event is being sponsored by Jimmy Jones Toyota of Orangeburg.For more information about this event, contact Bill Clark, OCSD5 Public Relations Director, at 803-533-7925 or bill.clark@ocsd5.net.

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