Student Orators Impress Audience

The contest judges carefully monitored eye contact, inflection, depth of knowledge and relevance of topic as they listened to 18 students deliver speeches during the recent Concerned African American Parents annual Oration Contest at the Teacher Resource Center.

Students from grades three to 12 responded to this year’s theme inspired by Ida B. Wells, the famed journalist and social activist who once said, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

Students confidently shared troubling issues they had witnessed, and in some cases been victims of, cited data on their subjects and then detailed their plans for positive solutions.

Participants impressed the packed room of parents, family members, school district administrators, teachers and community leaders with their insights into current issues such as cyber bullying, smoking, littering, the need for unity, use of the “n” word, homelessness, negative perceptions and education.

The judges were Board of Education Vice President Felton Williams, Stevenson Elementary School Principal David Zaid, CAAP Founder Ninette Richardson, and Cal State Long Beach’s Director of University Outreach and School Relations Valerie Bordeaux.

Former Board of Education President Bobbie Smith praised the students and donated two of her famous, freshly-baked sweet potato pies for the drawing in celebration of Black History Month.

Participants received certificates and gift bags containing goodies and passes provided by local vendors. First, second and third place winners earned gift cards. The orators were:

Grades 3-5

Eric Brannon, Holmes (first place)
Kalin Lindsey, Holmes (second place)
Antonio Eastland, Holmes (third place)
Devean Brown, Holmes
Benjamin Jackson, Bixby
Gregory Lewis, Holmes
Jadyn Myers, Longfellow

Grades 6-8

Caleb Jackson, Nelson (first place)
Joshua Henderson, Marshall (second place)
Jacqueline Brown, Bancroft (third place)
Sean Berry, Lindbergh
Kyle Slaughter, Newcomb

Grades 9-12

Basheera Ali-El, Poly (first place)
Dominique Leggett, Cabrillo (second place)
Prince Mays, Millikan (third place)
Jasir Jones, Lakewood
Brooke Ribet, Wilson
Lauryn Slaughter, Poly

WINNING ORATORS – Participants in the annual Concerned African American Parents Oration Contest proposed positive solutions to societal issues such as homelessness, cyberbullying and littering. The students earned certificates, prizes and goodies.

DERON