Six middle and high school students emerged as winners of the 5th Annual MLK Essay and Oratorical Contest.
The event, sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California, was held Jan. 11, at Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church in South Los Angeles. Arnetta Mack, SCLC-SC program director, coordinated the program, which was part of SCLC-SC’s King Legacy Month activities.
The students addressed the theme, “Building Dr. King’s Beloved Community,” and had to select one of two topics related to either social issues of the day such as homelessness, gun violence and racism or the impact of full participation in the 2020 Census and voting.
Fifty-five students from 11 schools entered the contest and 24 finalists advanced to the finals. Finalists were scored by a panel of judges based on the content of their four-minute speech, relevancy to the topic and overall delivery.
“Listening to these speeches, our young people are deep thinkers,” said Pastor William D. Smart, SCLC-SC president/CEO. “They don’t have to wait for the future to make change, their time is now!”
The middle school winners were Zion Townshend, Garvey Allen Visual & Performing Arts School / Riverside Alumni Chapter of Kappa League – 1st place; Violet Cueva, Wilders Prep Academy – 2nd place; and Tyler Malbrew, Wilder’s Prep Academy – 3rd place.
The high school winners were Dior Naylor, Vistamar School – 1st place; Micah Dailey White, Ramona High School – 2nd place; and Kai Amin Ciofassa, Verbum Dei High School – 3rd place. Winners received $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively.
The first place winners will give their oratorical presentation on Jan. 18, at the Skirball Center during the King Celebration with the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and will be featured at the SCLC Gala at the Loews Hollywood Hotel on Jan. 19.
For SCLC-SC King Legacy Month schedule, visit sclc-sc.org or call 213-268-4820.