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Four Hazelwood Students Honored in 2012 NCCU Dr. King Oratory Contest

Hazelwood Supt. Grayling Tobias poses with NCCU 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratory Contest finalists Grace Bishop, Olivia Perry, Mada Sylla and Nadia Rankin; their families and HSD staff.

North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice, (NCCU) named two Hazelwood School District students as winners of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratory Contest.

The winners were: Grace Bishop, Lawson Elementary School (grades one through five) and Nadia Rankin, Hazelwood East Middle School (grades six through eight). Each won in their respective categories.

The contest was held at John Knox Presbyterian Church in Florissant. There were 12 finalists in all, and five winners were chosen from among the group.

Other finalists from HSD include: Olivia Perry, Lawson Elementary School; and Mada Sylla, Garrett Elementary School.

“Great event to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy of non-violence,” tweeted Dr. Grayling Tobias, HSD superintendent, after attending the event. “I am proud of all contest participants for their efforts.  This was truly a remarkable occasion.”

Students were asked to spend time thinking and writing about how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, leadership, and service benefits them, us, and the world around us.

“The judges had a difficult time picking just five winners,” said Barb Thompson, NCCU Vice President and contest coordinator.  “All of the students did an admirable job. It was uplifting and reassuring to hear students speak about continuing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of healing divisions after the horrifying events in Newtown, Connecticut.”

Each of the winners will receive a $100 prize and will present their oratories at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration at 3:00 p.m. in the Terry M. Fischer Theatre at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley on Jan. 20, 2013. This event is free and open to the public.

“Thank you to all the teachers, instructional specialists, counselors, principals, other staff, and families for supporting the students as they wrote the oratories, for submitting them, and for working with the finalists to prepare for the oratory contest. We realize that it was hard work,” she concluded.

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