As each student stood proudly at the microphone and delivered their heartfelt words, it was abundantly clear that not only was the Dr. King mission still apparent, these children were living proof his dream was alive.
“Without the mission and courage of Dr. Martin Luther King, I probably would not be here, as I was born to a White mother and a Black father. I would not have the friends I have, and I also would not want to choose over either side of my family,” said Amiyah Thornton, 1st place winner in the 6th/7th grade category.
Once dinner was served, the committee awarded community leaders and, for the first time, student recognition awards were given to two students of the community, one honoring Dravon Henry, of Aliquippa and who will be attending West Virginia University for football, for showing great character when he asked a fellow student suffering from M.S., to attend the football court as his date and helped her realize a dream.
Of the community leader awards, The Oratorical committee honored John Stanley with the 2014 Community Service Award, Rev. Anthony & Janice Massey with the 2014 Coordinator Award, and Beaver Falls Police Chief Charles Jones with the Humanitarian Award. All the recipients were humbled with their recognition by the committee.
“We dedicate our lives to making sure the youth are taught to dream and always learn. Without a will to dream, what do they really have?” said Massey.
Jones shared a similar sentiment.
“When I look at you (the oratorical winners), it makes me work harder and more determined in serving my community, and realizing the importance of building my community. I am very honored to be acknowledged for this award.”
As with each year, the Oratorical banquet is a sign for those in the community of King’s dream incarnate. As was with this year’s theme, the youth are striving and reaching towards equality, diversity, and love. In the process, remembering the dreams of Dr. King will allow them to realize dreams of their own.
(Abdul Al-Nakhli is the Beaver Valley Correspondent for the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
(To reach Abdul Al-Nakhli, please email email@example.com or follow him on twitter at twitter.com/mrspadez)
List of 2014 Martin Luther King Oratorical winners:
1st Place Mckayla Scott
*No 12th grade category this year.