Students shine in oratorical contest

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Harmonie Braswell competes in the 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition on Thursday at the Imperial Centre Theatre. Braswell placed first in the grades 6-8 category.


Staff Writer

Friday, January 12, 2018

Trying to determine who the winners were of the 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition wasn’t an easy feat for the judges Thursday at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences.

It took the group of judges nearly 20 minutes to decide contestant winners from among the group of passionate and thoughtful speeches delivered from the five middle school students and 10 high school students.

Kellianne Davis, a city of Rocky Mount employee who was a judge, said selecting winners for the contest was a difficult choice because of the outstanding job done by all the students. 

“I’m very enthusiastic about the future of our community and our country because of these young people,” Davis said.

The event was hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and the city of Rocky Mount. Students in grades six through eight spoke on the theme of “Building Bridges, while speeches for contestants in grades nine through 12 talked on the theme of “Unfinished Work of a Dreamer.”

Dasia Williams won first place in the high school category, while Harmonie Braswell took first place in the middle school category. Both Williams and Braswell received a trophy and $175. They both will speak on Monday at the 30th annual Unity Breakfast at the Dunn Center.

Nyanna Sherrod came in second place in the high school competition and Asia Clark came in third place. Sherrod won $150 and a trophy and Clark won $125 and a trophy. In the elementary contest, Cyndney Richardson finished second and won $150 and a trophy, while Jasmine Hill came in third and won $125 and a trophy.

Gloria Davis, vice chairwoman of the Martin Luther King Jr Commission, said it gave her great pleasure to see the students do so well and learn some social skills and interaction skills.

“This was a great opportunity for them to learn about culture and to learn about history, because a lot of kids today don’t know about history,” Davis said. “They only know about the now, and the now isn’t what brought them to this point. It thrills me to see them try to learn something about history. This will stick with them throughout the years.”