Miami Dade College’s Partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools Spawns 32nd Anniversary of Theodore Gibson Oratorical Competition
First place winners in the 32nd Annual Theodore Gibson Oratorical Competition are (first row): T'Andre Bellinger, Daniel Asiamah, Kayla Burgess, and Reynel Reynaldo. In the second row, MDC administrators Malou C. Harrison, North Campus President Dr. Jose A. Vicente, and Dr. Sherrilyn Scott.
Miami, June 8, 2009 -
Theodore Gibson Oratorical Project, a joint venture between Miami Dade College (MDC) and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, recently hosted its 2009 Final Competition at the North Campus William and Joan Lehman Theatre. Forty-three Miami-Dade County public school students participated in the 32nd annual event aimed at exposing school children to writings about the black experience throughout the Diaspora.
The project also seeks to provide an opportunity for school children to discover and refine public speaking skills through a comprehensive and challenging level of learning and competition. Twelve outstanding students representing schools from Homestead to the north Miami-Dade county line, including elementary, middle and high school emerged as winners.
In total, more than 350 students participated in this year’s preliminary interschool and regional competitions. As part of the competition, elementary and middle school participants were required to recite a published poem; high school students were required to pen an original piece to recite. Several of this year’s recitations included, Knoxville Tennessee; Harlem is the Capital of my World; Let America be America; Good ‘Ol Days; and a student authored piece entitled, Unknown. Each participant was presented with a certificate of participation, and the 12 winners received medallions and engraved trophies.
“The Theodore Gibson Oratorical has uncovered incredible talent in our school children, the caliber of which is next to none,” says Dr. José A. Vicente, MDC North Campus president. “Our college and the school district have together created an excellent learning ground for honing communication skills, self-esteem and confidence.”
Officiating at the competition, was a distinguished cadre of judges that included Rick Beasley, executive director of the South Florida Workforce; Robert Beatty, Esq., South Florida Times publisher; Bill Diggs, president of the Miami Dade Chamber of Commerce; Charles Gibson, Esq., attorney at law; Rosie Gordon-Wallace, president and CEO, Diaspora Vibe Gallery; and Debra Toomer, director of marketing, WMBM Radio.
“Our students demonstrated excellent communication skills and great confidence,” says Millie Fornell, the school district’s associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “Providing students with the opportunity to participate in this oratorical competition is a valuable life learning experience.”
The first Theodore Gibson Oratorical Project was held on December 14, 1977 and the participants were students from Booker T. Washington Junior High School. Today, more than 30 years later, the project has blossomed into a popular spring time contest among local students who compete in intra-school and regional competitions throughout the county.
Winners of the 32nd annualTheodore Gibson Oratorical Project:
Group I (K-2)
Daniel Asiamah I Won’t Stop 1st Linda Lentin K-8 Center
Folukemi Olufidipe Madam and her Madam 2nd Dr. R. Espinosa Elementary
Chaquoia Spear Yes We Can 3rd Melrose Elementary
Group II (3-5)
Reynel Reynaldo Obama Election Night Speech 1st Campbell Drive Elementary
Talija Harris What If I Am A Black Woman 2nd Edison Park Elementary
Khandis Merritt Good ‘Ol Days 3rd Ada Merrit K-8 Center
Group III (6-8)
T’Andre Bellinger Sometimes I Cry 1st Brownville Middle
Zenobia Frazier State of the Union 2nd Howard Doolin Middle
Cencaria Gainous Black Is 3rd Charles Drew Middle
Group IV (9-12)
Kayla Burgess Unknown 1st Miami Coral Reef Sr. High
Christi Owiye No Love 2nd Thomas Jefferson Middle
Dominique Steward Awareness 3rd DASH
For more information about the Theodore Gibson Oratorical Project, please visit http://www.mdc.edu/north/gibson/.
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