Ohio students inspired by the lessons and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. presented original speeches on his teachings during the 20th Annual Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest held in Columbus on April 12.
Twenty-seven regional contest winners from grades one through 11 spoke before judges and others at the King Arts Complex.
The following speakers placed in the top of their respective divisions:
• Senior Division (grades nine through 12) First place – Playon Patrick, 11th-grader, Fort Hayes High School, Columbus. Runners-up – Bre’Anna Walker, 11th-grader, Columbus Alternative High School, Columbus; and Jacob Vinson, 11th-grader, St. Martin de Porres High School, Cleveland.
• Junior Division (grades six through eight) First place – Ayla Bella, eighth-grader, Columbus Gifted Academy, Columbus. Runners-up – Mackenzie Lewis, seventh-grader, St. Catharine School, Columbus; and Gabriella Falconer, seventh-grader, Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Akron.
• Intermediate Division (grades three through five) First place – Adonia Balqis, fifth-grader, Clinton Elementary School, Columbus. Runners-up – Beckham Nethken, fifth-grader, Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Akron; and Elena Earley, fifth-grader, Clinton Elementary School, Columbus.
• Primary Division (grades kindergarten through two) First place – Leah Jackson, second-grader, Glendale Primary School, Bedford. Runners-up – Isaiah Gatson, second-grader, Glendale Primary School, Bedford; and Jayden Hawkins, first-grader, College Hill Fundamental Academy, Cincinnati.
The first-place finishers are invited to speak at the 2020 Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration being held Jan. 16, 2020, in downtown Columbus.