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CPS Students to Represent Cincinnati in Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest

Eleven Cincinnati Public Schools students will compete in the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statewide Oratorical Contest in Columbus this spring after placing in the citywide contest. 

Cincinnati Public Schools, in partnership with the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Human Relations, hosted the event for nearly 50 students, a record number of participants, at the Mary A. Ronan Education Center.

Students recited their memorized essays in front of a panel of judges. The contest, “The Dream Deferred: Where Do We Go from Here?” asked contestants to reflect on how far society has come since Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and what we can do to work toward a better tomorrow, opening minds to bridge differences and unite in hope.


  • Primary K-2

    • 1st London Howard, grade 2, Chase School

    • 2nd Taloni McKinney, grade 2, Chase School

  • Intermediate 3-5

    • 1st Ty’Aire Burnam, grade 3, Chase School

    • 2nd Lauren Brown, grade 4, William H. Taft Elementary School

    • 3rd Cadence Kahill, grade 3, Chase School

  • Junior 6-8

    • 1st Jai’Vionna Ferguson-Allen, grade 6, Winton Hills Academy

    • 1st Le’Mia Allen, grade 6, Winton Hills Academy

    • 2nd A’June’t Carson, grade 6, Cheviot School

  • Senior 9-12

    • 1st Lailani Smith, grade 9, Shroder High School

    • 2nd Kayla Berndsen, grade 9, Shroder High School

3rd Essence Hackney, grade 11, Shroder High School