by Vanessa Woodard Byers
Yesterday I had the pleasure of serving on the panel of judges for the Ann Owen Gordon Oratorical Competition for the Miami Chapter of Jack & Jill of America at the North Campus of Miami Dade College. The participants were awesome. From the cute little ones seemingly barely able to hold the microphone, to the more experienced high schoolers who delivered their speeches as professionals.
Event moderator, Lori Bailey, kept the program flowing and injected advice on proper decorum at the local, state and national oratorical events. It was apparent the young people had invested a lot of time in preparation for the competition. Division II winners - Zahirah Calloway (1st Place) and Lauren Smith (Runner-up) advance to the State competition.
Unfortunately, these positive events in which our children participate, rarely receive mainstream media coverage. Public speaking is probably the most uncomfortable experience for most people, all of the young people handled that task quite well.
Congratulations to the entire Miami Chapter of Jack and Jill of America with a special shout to chapter president Althea Coleman; Oratorical Committee chair Francine Steelman and H. Leigh Toney. Other judges were Dr. Charlton Copeland; Dr. Maryline Montes Gelin; Prof. Michael Mason and Atty. Gera Peoples.