Annual Oratorical Contest Highlights the Power of Education

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BY Yasmine Malone | May 23, 2024

Clarksdale, Mississippi – On May 16, 2024, Dreams Hopes Miracles and Alcorn Extension Program hosted their annual oratorical contest for 9th and 10th graders. Students across the Delta gathered in Coahoma County High School auditorium to compete for the top five scholarship prizes. 

These students shared speeches on the Power of Education in Creating a Healthier World. What was so unique about this oratorical contest was that contestants were female students, though all 9th and 10th graders had the option to compete.

Mrs. Doris Miller, the organizer of this event shared her hopes for the participants and how it will influence their futures for the better. She says,   “ I want our students to be able to travel anywhere in the world and be respected for their articulate, well-versed communication, capable of addressing diverse audiences confidently. This is the main reason I organize and coordinate oratorical contests. I love it! As a child, one of my former teachers, Mr. Jewett ( deceased), told me that speaking standard English—what he called proper English—would open doors for us as young Black students. That advice stuck with me, and I’ve never forgotten it. As I grew older, I found it to be true. No matter how talented you are, if you can’t express yourself well, you’ll often be overlooked. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly.

Experiences like this will undoubtedly be beneficial to these young ladies. Mrs. Miller hopes to see more students across the Delta pursue opportunities like this. 

The Superintendent of the Coahoma School District, Virginia Young, says she’s happy the students were able to have this experience. She knows this will be very helpful for their college career. “The confidence that comes from public speaking is going to do wonders for them. Even speaking in front of a small crowd like this or in church makes speaking in front of a larger audience easier.”

Congratulations to all of the young ladies in this competition. 

Follow Clarksdale Advocate News for more information on events like this! 

The speech contest winners are photographed here from left to right.

5th Christen Turner , 4th – Jasmine Coley, 3rd – Alecia Pollard, 2nd – Henrietta Campbell, 1st – Dreshundria Elmore

*To report a spelling or grammar error or inaccurate information, please email us at info@clarksdaleadvocate.com.

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