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Oakland students bring speeches, skits and song to the Oratorical Fest

on March 16, 2010

On Friday, students from across Oakland competed in the 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest, reciting speeches and poetry and performing dramatic skits in front of an audience of about one hundred people. To be eligible to perform, entrants had to make it through two rounds of competition, and only the top 25 were chosen. The students—who ranged from 6th to 12th grade, were judged on four categories: interpretation/creativity, expression, articulation/pronunciation, and stage presence. The pieces they preformed ran the spectrum from original poetry to President Obama’s 2004 Democratic Convention keynote speech to an essay from the Washington Post. In total, 5,000 students participated in the competition.

The judges also announced the winner of the expository essay contest, which challenged each student to write about an inspirational figure. The winner, Redwood Day  School’s Sophia Denison-Johnston, won for her essay on AIDS activist Martin Delaney. Dennison-Johnson was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for her essay. Emily Zierdt-Smith of Montera Middle School to the second-place prize of $500 and Sarah Phillips of Redwood Day won the third place prize of $250.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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