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11 CPS students move on to the Ohio Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest!

Eleven CPS students are moving on to the Ohio Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest.

Cincinnati Public Schools, in partnership with the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Human Relations, hosted the citywide contest at the Mary A. Ronan Education Center.

Students recited their memorized essays in front of a panel of judges. The contest, “Bridging the Divide: Daring to Dream Again,” asked contestants to reflect on where society would be without Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and to provide solutions for moving forward.

“The Oratorical Contest provides an opportunity for our students to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and model his principles through their own words and actions. Students are challenged to think critically and creatively to write and perform their speech, and it is our hope that students are empowered by their voices to further Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolent social change in today’s world while building their confidence and becoming a voice in their communities. It is my pleasure and honor to support them in this process,” Lanisha Simmons, Cincinnati Public Schools English Language Arts Curriculum Manager, said.

The top three winners in each division will go on to compete in the State Oratorical Contest in Columbus this spring. Selected statewide winners will be invited to participate in the annual Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration in January 2024.


Primary K-2

1st Kylie Harmon, grade 2, Chase School

2nd Zahra Bouhajjam, grade 2, Chase School

3rd Jasmine Russell, grade 2, Chase School


Intermediate 3-5

1st Jae’Tona Harrison, grade 5, Sayler Park School

2nd Aveyah Willis, grade 5, Sayler Park School

3rd Adelynn King, grade 5, Sayler Park School


Junior 6-8

1st Savanah Arnold, grade 8, Shroder High School

2nd Ayana Jakhar, grade 7, Walnut Hills High School


Senior 9-12

1st Essence Hackney, grade 10, Shroder High School

2nd Laila Gibson, grade 10, Shroder High School

3rd Aniyah Thomas, grade 10, Shroder High School