Miller South Scholar Excels in Competition

The Impact & Inspiration
Posted on 05/15/2023
Image of MLK Oratorical ContestOhio students inspired by the lessons and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. presented original speeches on his teachings during the 22nd Annual Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest held today in Columbus.

Thirty regional contest winners from grades 1-12 spoke before judges and others at the King Arts Complex.

“Today’s speeches not only celebrate Dr. King’s enduring messages but also demonstrate how his words continue to impact and inspire,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Congratulations to all the students who took part in today’s contest.”

The contest is sponsored by the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission, which receives administrative support from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

“I applaud the young people who participated in this year’s event,” said Rev. Joel L. King, vice chair of the commission and Dr. King's cousin. “All of the speeches today were powerful and honored Dr. King's message of peace, tolerance and social justice.”

Contestants were judged on performance, originality and composition. The following speakers placed in the top of their respective divisions:

Senior Division (grades 9-12)
First place – Mackenzie Lewis, Columbus Africentric Early College High School, Columbus

Runners-up – Gabriella Falconer, Archbishop Hoban High School, Akron; and Adonia Balqis, Whetstone High School, Columbus

Junior Division (grades 6-8)
First place – Lauren Sutch, Hilliard Heritage Middle School, Hilliard

Runners-up – Jasmine Falconer, Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Akron; and Aishwarya Ramanathan, Olentangy Orange Middle School, Lewis Center

Intermediate Division (grades 3-5)
First place – Jasmine Davis, Columbus School for Girls, Gahanna

Runners-up – Alexandria “Lexie” Edwards, Warrensville Heights Elementary School, South Euclid; and Amir LaMarr, Berwick Alternative PreK-8 Elementary School, Columbus

Primary Division (grades 1-2)
First place – Dillon Tucker, Berwick Alternative PreK-8 Elementary School, Columbus

Runners-up – Zahra Bouhajjam, Chase Elementary School, Cincinnati; and Kylie Harmon, Chase Elementary School, Cincinnati

The contests’ first-place finishers will be invited to speak at the 2024 Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration set for Jan. 11, 2024.

Image of MLK Oratorical Contest
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