Deadline extended for oratorical contest

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

The deadline for students to enter the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest has been extended to Jan. 18. The original deadline was Monday, but was extended to allow for more entries, National Voting Rights Museum program specialist Kimberly Smitherman said.

The contest is open to students in grades 2-12 across the nation. Entrants must read an excerpt from a King speech, with the exception of the “I Have a Dream” speech, which is ineligible.

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The contest will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Slavery and Civil War Museum on Water Avenue, and the winner will read aloud during the program, “A Call for Action: Using Dr. King&8217;s Principles for 2008,” a Jan. 21 observance to be held at 2 p.m. at the Tabernacle Baptist Church.

So far, 15 students are entered, Smitherman said, adding the contest is designed to help students understand the power and relevance of the words of King. “But we&8217;re definitely looking for more,” Smitherman said. “We&8217;re offering cash prizes. If I were a kid, I would&8217;ve jumped on that.”

Entrants who score seven or eight on the contest scale will win $25. Those who score highest, nine and 10, will be awarded $50, Smitherman said.

So far, Smitherman said announcements have been sent via newspaper and radio to share information about the contest. Letters were sent to churches, and flyers were posted around town and sent to parents using the school program Project FAME.