Students from Prince William County Public Schools earn top awards in 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition and Program
Posted on 01/22/2019
2019 MLK Oratorical Competition and Program

Hundreds of community leaders, educators, parents and supporters cheered and rose to their feet after hearing from the six finalists competing in the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition and Program. This year’s event, which was held on MLK Day at the Cecil D. Hylton Memorial Chapel, celebrated the winners of an oratorical and writing competition focusing on the theme – “Small Things in Great Ways.”

Dr. Babur Lateef, Chairman At-Large for the Prince William County School Board, introduced the three middle school finalists – Miriam Basaran, Gainesville Middle School; Dorian Samuel Eugene Lockamy, Lake Ridge Middle School; and Varsha Palaniyandy, Hampton Middle School, who gave moving presentations and tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. Basaran was awarded “best before the judges” and Lockamy earned the “best before the audience” award.

High school finalists Michael Pettus, Freedom High School; Zoree Jones, Patriot High School; and Alex Kelly, Stonewall High School, also wowed the audience with their passionate tributes. Kelly earned recognition for "best before the judges” and Jones, a winner in 2018, earned the award for “best before the audience.”

Jessica Gyamfi, Colgan High School, and Abdullah Usufzai, Battlefield High School, were awarded with the judge’s choice award for their oratorical presentation.

The event also recognized winners in the writing contest:

Fourth Grade Winners

First Place – Naya Watts – Minnieville Elementary School

Second Place – Kaitlyn Svrlinga – Thurgood Marshall Elementary school

Third Place - Noor Shaikh – Pennington Traditional School

Firth Grade Winners

First Place – Christina Grubbs – Mountain View Elementary School

Second Place – Tatiana Rose Cave – Minnieville Elementary School

Third Place – Jordon Sanders – The Nokesville School

Honorable Mention – Landen Allen – Mountain View Elementary School

A special recognition was given to Lyric Lucas, a third-grade student at Piney Branch Elementary School, who started and organized a garden club to provide vegetables to the community and non-profit organizations. She has been awarded an acre of land at Birmingham Green in Manassas to grow more veggies.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition and Program is coordinated and supported by the Delta Research and Education Foundation in affiliation with Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and in conjunction with the Cecil & Irene Hylton Foundation.