Contest encourages creativity

Published 10:46 pm Friday, February 18, 2011

From left, Selma High School seniors Whitney Stanley, Kiremia Lee, Bria Cook and Ellwood Christian Academy senior Ronita Brazil, presented their speeches in front of a crowd of supporters for a chance to win scholarships totaling $1,000 at this year’s African Knights and Culturama Oratorical Contest held Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Vaughan Conference Room of the Selma-Dallas County Public Library. -- Desiree Taylor

“Education provides us with the tools to grow.”

This message holds true for four Selma High School and Ellwood Christian Academy seniors, who participated in the 2011 Senior Culturama and African Knights oratorical contest, held at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library Wednesday evening.

The annual event, sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Zeta Eta Omega chapter, encourages area seniors to give a five to eight minute speech on a given topic and compete for scholarships. Students were judged on introduction, verbal and nonverbal delivery, language and conclusion.

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Organizers of the event, said this year’s topic, “For me, education is…” was a way for participants to express their personal views on the meaning of education.

Sheronda Armstrong, event chairperson, said the contest, which has been successful in times past, is a way for students to improve their communication and public speaking skills.

“Communication is important in all they do and we want to emphasize that,” Armstrong said.

Contestants Ronita Brazil, Bria Cook, Kiremia Lee and Whitney Stanley competed for first, second and third place winnings of $500, $300 and $200, which can go towards college tuition or books.

Karen Brown, chapter president, said the money comes in handy for students who plan to attend college.

“It’s important to go to school and school takes money,” Brown said. “These scholarships mean a whole lot especially during these hard economic times.”

Brown said learning to speak well helps individuals to be more confident all around.

“It’s important to know how to convey what you want,” Brown said. “There’s nothing worse than knowing what you want to say but not knowing how to express or articulate it.”

The winners will be announced March 20 at 4 p.m. at the Larry D. Striplin Jr. Performing Arts Center. For more information call 875-6331.