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Student Speeches Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

2012 January 18

I was blown away by the powerful speeches HISD students delivered during last week’s Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition. Students who compete in the annual contest write their own original three- to five-minute speeches and incorporate ideals from Dr. King’s writings, speeches, and other records.

Fifth-grader Matthias McBride of Pleasantville ES placed first in the annual contest. Fifth-grader Donovan Williams from Cornelius ES earned second place, and fourth-grader Samaya Watson from MacGregor ES came in third.

This year, students answered this question: As a student of Dr. King’s life, what message of hope do you think he would have for the world today? The students’ answers were thoughtful and moving.

One of the most powerful quotes came at the end of Matthias’ speech. He said: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor popular, nor political. But one must take that position because it is right.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Congratulations to all of the students who wrote speeches and competed. You gave me and many others a lot to think about as we observed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Please take the time to watch the winning speeches:

And to see all the finalist speeches go to

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