29th Annual Foley & Lardner 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:

1) In-School Competitions

2) Semifinals

3) Finals

On January 15, 2021, eight 4th and 5th grade students competed in the 29th MLK Oratory Competition co-sponsored by Foley and Lardner and Dallas ISD.  Students were charged with the task of writing speeches based on the theme: “How do you think Dr. King’s teachings can help us today?” The eight talented finalists were:

Gregory Anderson – Urban Park ES

Dinaste McKinney – Clara Oliver ES

Zoe Frazier – J.P. Starks Vanguard

Dominic Patermo – Harry C. Withers ES

Cortlin Harbert – T.L. Marsalis ES

Jessie Washington – Charles Rice LC

Ni’Kyah Levelson – Ronald L. McNair ES

Jamari Williams – Wilmer-Hutchins ES


Congratulations to this year’s winners:

3rd Place – Dinaste McKinney

2nd Place – Zoe Frazier

1st Place – Dominic Patermo


For more information on the MLK Oratory Competition, contact Tonya Mayberry Davis at tmayberry@dallasisd.org.