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Oratorical contest speaks to the value of education

    Who says that young children don't know the importance of an education?

    Recently, the Memphis Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. held its 16th annual Oratorical Contest at Colonial Middle School with 34 fifth-graders from different schools throughout the Memphis area. While performing my job as the MC, I heard some very remarkable speeches from the participants.

    They all spoke on this topic: "Though the odds may be stacked against the youth of today, education is the key."

    The students came to the stage and gave their best efforts before a crowd that included family and friends. The Deltas on hand included the President of Memphis Alumnae, Dr. Charlotte Freeman.

    An even harder job than performing in the contest was judging to find the winner. In the end, the judges – Stan Bell, educator and radio personality; Wilima Sueing, retired educator; Reginald Porter, school board representative; and state Rep. Reginald Tate – reached consensus. The overall winner was Tearriya Tynes from Germanshire Elementary.

    I spoke with Tearriya, who told me that her mother helped to get her speech ready by talking with several family members and friends to gather what they knew about the importance of education.

    Delta Cynthia Payne, principal of Alcy Elementary School, was the committee chair for the contest. She expressed her appreciation to all the attendees, including several principals of competing students and the sorors who helped make the event a success.

    The first place winner received $150. Second place was awarded $100, with $50 to the third-place finisher.

    But there were so many outstanding speeches and I witnessed several other students, who didn't place, receiving monetary donations from audience members and judges!

    So it seems that not only do these students know the importance of education, they now have a fresh experience with the fact that education also pays!

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