MLK oratory winners, three ‘living legends’ recognized in observance of Black History Month

Matthias McBride delivers his winning speech at Thursday's Board of Education meeting.

The HISD Board of Education opened its regular meeting with a performance from Pleasantville Elementary School student Matthias McBride, the winner of the 2012 Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition. Matthias delivered his winning speech to those in attendance.

 Click here to watch his winning speech.

Also recognized were Donovan Williams from Cornelius Elementary (second place), and Samaya Watson from MacGregor Elementary (third place).

The HISD Board of Education also recognized three “living legends” in observance of Black History Month: Faye Bryant, Felix Cook, and Lawrence Marshall.

  • Faye Bryant is a native Houstonian and a graduate of Wheatley High School. She taught or served as a counselor at both Booker T. Washington and Bellaire high schools, and she was very involved in the district’s first Magnet programs as part of the district’s desegregation efforts. After serving in a number of administrative positions, including acting superintendent, she retired from HISD in 2002 with 42 years of service.
  • Felix Y. Cook was a teacher and administrator at HISD for 36 years, starting in the 1940s. He served as a teacher and coach at E. O. Smith Junior High and Phillis Wheatley High School and as the principal of Sharpstown High School. Cook also served for 12 years as a deputy superintendent. HISD named a school for him in 2006 on the site of the old James Sanderson Elementary School.
  • Lawrence Marshall joined the district as a teacher in 1955 and subsequently served as a principal, area superintendent, assistant superintendent, associate superintendent, and deputy superintendent before retiring in 1991. He was first elected to the Board of Education in 1997, and has served as assistant secretary, first vice president, and president. He was re-elected in 2009 and continues to represent District IX.