Students Thrill Again in MLK Speech Contest

Today Americans celebrate the birthday of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King wrote several books about the civil rights struggle, but he’s perhaps best known for his speeches. The annual MLK Oratory Competition for young students was recently held in downtown Houston. Bill Stamps was there for what has become quite a showcase of young talent.

The latest polls may tell you how President Obama is doing in the eyes of voters, but if you were at this years Martin Luther King Oratory contest, you didn’t need a poll to see that by just being elected, Obama has already had an impact on minority children.

The first two girls Raiya Goodman and Sara Navy spoke about following in his footsteps.

“I come before you as the first African-American female President of the United States. Today, I begin an historical journey and there are many people I would like to thank.”

“Because of Dr. King’s achievements, I Sara Alise Navy can become the first African American female President of the United States of America.”

Those two weren’t the only ones to mention politics. Two young Hispanic speakers also talked about one day being the first Latino president of the United States. After all this year’s topic was, what will I be able to achieve in my life because of what Dr. King achieved in his?

Kimberly Landry believes she can be a famous talk show host thanks to Dr. King.

“His dream was to change the world. And he did. He fought for equality as he stood with integrity. After sacrificing many years for others, he was shot.”

Each year the competition is put on by the law firm of Gardere, Wynne Sewell. Host Claude Treece is always amazed by the talented speakers.

“Really the first year we did it, you know 14 years ago, we really didn’t know…what is this gonna be?  They come down here and their speeches are just incredible and you have to pinch yourself to remind yourself that they really are ten, eleven year old kids fourth and fifth graders with talent and energy.”

This year’s winner is Christian Burgs of Garden Villas Elementary. How good was the competition this year? So good that last year’s winner didn’t even make it to the final round this time.

“Free at last. Free at last…”