Students Shine in MLK Youth Oratorical Program

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

PWCS student talent was on display at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Youth Oratorical Competition and Program held virtually on Jan. 17, 2022. Six PWCS middle and high school student finalists spoke to the theme “Beyond Dreams and Mountains: Her Voice-Her Mission,” sharing the vision of unsung heroines of the Civil Rights Movement past and present; their vision and work and how it aligns with Dr. King’s vision.

Now in its 32nd year, the oratorical program is sponsored by the Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (PWCAC DST) in affiliation with the Delta Research and Educational Foundation. PWCS School Board member Lillie Jessie (Occoquan District), who is also a sorority member, is the founder and first chairperson of the MLK Youth Oratorical.

In the virtual format, student finalists compete before a panel of judges in advance of the program. Community members then watch online on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and vote for their favorite orator using a text-to-vote feature. This year, over 2,000 viewers tuned into the event.

Congratulations to the following winners:

Best Before the Audience

Middle school winner: Shavonne Davis, Marsteller Middle School
High school winner: Varsha Jyothikaa Palaniyandy, Gar-Field High School

Best Before the Judges

Middle school winner: Mahmud Ibn Abdul-rahman Khabir, Bull Run Middle School
High school winner: Varsha Jyothikaa Palaniyandy, Gar-Field High School

Partial performances from the Best Before the Judges winners, Palaniyandy and Khabir, are available on YouTube. The event, including all of the PWCS performances, is available online.

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