A rumbling applause filled the Castlemont High School Reeder Performing Arts Center, as proud parents, teachers and administrators cheered to support the talent of students in the Oakland United School District. Over 100 students were awarded medals during the final showcase of the 39th Martin Luther King Oratorical Fest. The performance categories this year ranged from famous to not-so-famous speeches, dramatic scenes, published poems and students’ original work. Each performer in the showcase was a finalist from their individual school’s competition.
Due to district budget cuts, the oratorical staff decided that this year there will be no
first, second and third place winners, and no trophies. Instead, every student received a medal for their hard work. According to program coordinator Awele Makeba, this helped resolve the issue of who takes home the trophy for a group performance. In some past instances, schools would house the group trophies and parents could purchase an individual one for their children. This time, said Makeba, “Everyone goes home a winner!”
Click the play button at right to hear audio from the performances.