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MLK oratory competition focuses on Ali

The Dallas Examiner | 1/29/2017, 10:55 p.m.
The 25th annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition, established in 1993, is hosted in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. ...
Sierra Jones (center), first place winner of the 25th Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition, is flanked by (from left) third place winner Asad King, KDFW Fox 4 Anchor Clarice Tinsley, Gardere Chair Holly O’Neil and second place winner Jace Roberson. Paul Howell

The Dallas Examiner

The 25th annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition, established in 1993, is hosted in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day to encourage the community to remember and pay tribute to the late civil rights leader’s legacy. The event is designed to highlight the cultural diversity of the community while recognizing and encouraging the writing and presentation skills of elementary school students.

This year, fourth and fifth graders were asked to present a speech that would answer: “If Dr. King were alive today, what would he say about Muhammad Ali’s contribution to society?”

More than 160 students participated from 25 local schools in an in-school competition to qualify for one of the 25 spot in the semi-final round. The top eight students qualified to compete in the final round that was held Jan. 13 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This year’s first place winner was 11-year-old Sierra Jones, a fifth-grade student at Charles Rice Learning Center.

“The more I got involved with this question, I began to see the whole picture,” she began as she channeled King.

Her speech highlighted Ali’s refusal of the Vietnam War, as well as his boxing triumphs, tying together Ali’s fights in and out of the ring.

“So I would say fight when you are tired, fight for what you believe, fight like my friend Muhammad Ali fought when you cannot fight anymore,” she said as her speech came to a conclusion.

Other winners were fifth-grader Jace Roberson from J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard, who took second place, and fourth-grader Asad King from William Brown Miller Elementary, who won third place.