Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Announces the Winners of the 2014 Oratorical Contest

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Date: December 19, 2014
Contact: Delphine Gross, 202-426-5961

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is pleased to announce the winners of the park's annual Oratorical Contest. All winners received a $200 gift certificate and are invited back to the park to perform their award winning speeches for the anniversary of Douglass' birthday, Feb. 14. 

"There is something powerful that happens when you hear young people in 2014 speak the words that Douglass wrote and spoke in the 1800s. It is especially moving when Douglass' words still ring true today. Hearing it from a younger generation makes us all realize that we still have work to do to make our society better for everyone," Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said. 

This event has over 30 years of tradition and invites students in first through 12th grades to present a portion of a Douglass speech of their choice from the stage at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. The contest gives students a chance to experience the same transformative power of language that Frederick Douglass experienced as a young man and helps students find their voice.

"Public speaking is a great life skill, and learning public speaking at a young age can really give students an advantage academically and socially. This experience can be a confidence booster, and we often get feedback from parents and teachers that watch their children grow from this experience," Site Manager Julie Kutruff said.

The contest, held Dec. 12 and 13, had four award categories: Elementary (grades 1-3); Junior (grades 4-5); Junior High (grades 6-8); and Senior High (grades 9-12). We are proud to announce that the following students are this year's contest winners:

Elementary: first place, Aneesh Mandapati, Floris Elementary School, Herndon, Va.; second place, Silas Montgomery, homeschooled, Takoma Park, Md.; third place, Ian Hilliard, Clarksville Elementary School, Clarksville, Md.

Junior: first place, Anina Kim Dentel-Pham, Ben W. Murch Elementary School, Washington, DC.; second place, Jasani Primrose, Watkins Elementary School, Washington, DC.; third place, Elijah Coles-Brown, Twin Hickory Elementary School, Glen Allen, Va.

Junior High: first place, Katherine Smith, Lakewood Montessori Middle School, Durham, N.C.; second place, Daniel Bates, homeschooled, Fort Washington, Md.; third place, Lesleigh Hilliard, Clarksville Middle School, Clarksville, Md.

Senior High: first place, Anjali Mahadevia, Atholton High School, Columbia, Md.; second place, Campbell McDade Clay, Brighton High School, Rochester, N.Y.; third place, Daevon Gurley, homeschooled, Baltimore, Md.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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