29th Annual Foley Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition


29th Annual MLK, Jr. Oratory Competitoin

The annual MLK Oratory Competition was designed by Foley Gardere to recognize and encourage the writing and oratory skills of elementary students.  In addition, it serves as a celebration of cultural diversity and opportunity to spotlight talented Dallas ISD students as they learn about Dr. King.  The competition was established in Dallas since 1993 to commemorate the life of Dr. King.

History and Accolades:

  • 160 students from 25 schools participated in the 2017-2018 competition
  • Past winners and participants delivered their speeches to numerous local and national organizations including an annual appear at the Dallas Bar Association. They have also appeared on local and national television programs include CBS’ The Early Show, KTVT Channel 11, KDFW Fox 4 News, Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Three Part Program:

In-School Competitions: September 30-October 11, 2019

SemifinalsDecember 3, 2019, 6-8:30 p.m. Location TBD

Finals: January 17, 2020, W.H. Adamson High School, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


  • Fourth and fifth grade elementary students compose their own original three-to-five minute speeches incorporating ideals from Dr. King’s writings, speeches and other records to answer the competition’s theme question.
  • Students are judged on delivery, state presence and decorum, content, interpretation and memorization at all three levels (school, semifinals and finals) of the competition.
  • Participating Dallas ISD elementary schools host in-school competitions.
  • First place winners from each school participate in the semifinal competition. 
  • Eight finalists are selected for the final competition

2019-2020  Participating Schools

Arcadia Park Elementary

Eladio Martinez Learning Center

Thomas Tolbert Elementary

John Neely Bryan Elementary

Ronald McNair Elementary

Urban Park Elementary

Frederick Douglass Elementary

William Brown Miller Elementary

Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary

Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center

Clara Oliver Elementary

Harry C. Withers Elementary

L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary

Charles Rice Learning Center


Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary

J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard


For more information about the competition, please contact Tonya Mayberry Davis at tmayberry@dallasisd.org.  You may also reach her directly at 972-925-3654.