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Gregory-Lincoln Elementary School fifth-grader Tchanori Kone channeled the composed, fighting spirit of her civil rights activist grandfather, Ester King, with her winning speech about her dream to improve the lives of the poor and grant equal and fair access to health care and education for all.
Kone, a native Houstonian, won first place for her speech titled “Making the Dream Come True” at the 22nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition. Twelve fourth- and fifth-graders from two dozen HISD schools competed in the event, which challenged them to answer the question “What is your dream for today’s world?” with original speeches.
“I was determined to win this year because I lost last year,” said Kone after being announced as the winner. “This competition has connected me to Martin Luther King and his message, as well as to my grandfather. I started going to a new school this year, and I was inspired by what I see every day on my way there: homelessness. I wondered why the homeless and poor can’t have what everyone else has.”
Tchanori Kone, Gregory-Lincoln Elementary School, first place
Caleb Kiteka of Windsor Village Elementary School earned second place, and Nhedrick Jabier of Crespo Elementary School, last year’s champion, won third place.
Caleb Kiteka, Windsor Village Elementary School, second place
Nhedrick Jabier, Crespo Elementary School, third place
The final round of the competition, which is sponsored by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, was held a Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ in downtown Houston. Students were judged based on delivery, stage presence and decorum, content interpretation, and memorization. The winner was awarded a $1,000 prize. The second place winner received a $500 prize while the third place winner was presented with a $300 prize.
A $100 monetary award was given to the remaining finalists. Click on each name to watch their speech:
- Jernee Craig – Whidby Elementary School
- Kimahni Dew – Burrus Elementary School
- Jaida Gatlin – Foster Elementary School
- Natalie Greene – MacGregor Elementary School
- Armani Holmes – Thompson Elementary School
- Nyla Johnson – Lockhart Elementary School
- Maryam Khan – Sutton Elementary School
- Shawn Ward – Pleasantville Elementary School
- Summer Whitaker – Cornelius Elementary School
The winner will be performing an opening speech at the A.D. Players theater at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 18.