Don’t miss the MLK Jr. Oratory Competition finals on Jan. 17

If you’ve never seen the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition sponsored by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP in Houston, you’re in for a treat.

Every year since 1996, fourth- and fifth-graders from two dozen HISD schools have competed in this annual contest, which challenges students to write and present a short original speech on a subject related to the slain civil rights leader. The topic this year is, “If Dr. King were speaking at a March on Washington today, what would he say?”

The finals are scheduled this year for Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ (500 Clay Street, 77002) from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., so be sure to check out the HISD website afterward for details on the winners. Videos of the winning speech and those given by all other finalists are expected to be available there by the end of business that day.

In a preliminary contest, the original field of 24 was whittled to 12 for the final competition. The 2014 finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

• Shahnoor Ahtesham, Sutton ES
• Reginald Brown, Pleasantville ES
• Chrislyn Brownlow, Anderson ES
• Chrystyna Haywood, Bruce ES
• Kierra Hunter, MacGregor ES
• Robert Lane III, Valley West ES
• Amaria Maldonado, Wainwright ES
• Byron Roberson, Dodson ES
• Kennady Roberson, Lockhart ES
• Amari Venzor, Cornelius ES
• Jayla Wright, Burrus ES
• Jacovia Young, Windsor Village ES

Other participating HISD campuses include: Atherton, Crespo, Garden Villas, Golfcrest, Gregg, Gross, Park Place, Port Houston, Rodriguez, Thompson, Whidby, and Woodson.

And, if you just can’t wait to see the kids in action, click here to check out last year’s winner, Lockhart ES fourth-grader Curtis Babers, and see the other finalists give their speeches.