NPS Announces Winners of Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Oratorical Contest

A student gives a speech from a stage
A student presents a speech from the stage of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.

NPS / N. Johnson

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News Release Date: December 15, 2015

Contact: Emily Linroth, 202-619-7156

The National Park Service held its annual oratorical contest at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site on Friday, December 11, and Saturday, December 12, 2015.

Eighty students in grades 1-12 presented a portion of a Douglass speech from the stage at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. The students chose the speeches that meant something to them. 

Virginia Patrick (age 17) traveled from Rochester, New York with her mother. She participates in an advanced oratory club. 

“I was honored to participate and be able to visit Mr. Douglass’ home,” Patrick said. “I have visited his gravesite in Rochester and look forward to visiting more Frederick Douglass sites.” 

The oratorical contest has provided students with opportunities for more than 30 years. The judges are solicited from the community in addition to members of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association. The association provides prize money to the first, second, and third place winners in each of the four categories. There were four separate award categories: Elementary (grades 1-3); Junior (grades 4-5); Junior High (grades 6-8); and Senior High (grades 9-12). 

All the winners will be invited back to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in February 2016 to celebrate Douglass' birthday and will receive recognition for their accomplishments and their school's participation. 

The winners are: 

Elementary (grades 1-3): 1st place, Kennedy Cordle, Church of the Redeemer Christian School, Takoma Park, MD; 2nd place, Ian Hilliard, Clarkesville Elementary School, Clarkesville, MD; 3rd place, Isaiah Montgomery, Homeschooled, Takoma Park, MD. 

Junior (grades 4-5): 1st place, Nehemiah Amari Sellers, Elsie Whitlow Stokes, Washington, DC; 2nd place, Silas Montgomery, Homeschooled, Takoma Park, MD; 3rd place, Alexander Pendleton, Hampton Oaks Elementary School, Stafford, VA. 

Junior High (grades 6-8): 1st place, Jasani Primrose, Stuart-Hobson Middle School, Washington, DC; 2nd place, Solomon Redo, Hardy Middle School, Washington, DC; 3rd place, Neel Mandapati, Rachel Carson Middle School, Oak Hill, VA. 

Senior High (grades 9-12): 1st place, Emma Vande Brake, Homeschooled, Rochester, NY; 2nd place, Daniel Bates, Homeschooled, Fort Washington, MD; 3rd place, Daevon Gurley, Homeschooled, Baltimore, MD.

Last updated: December 16, 2015

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