PVAMU Holds Annual Essay and Oratory Contest

Prairie View A&M University held the Oratory Showcase on Wednesday, February 27.  It was the finale of the 5th Annual Essay and Oratory Contest.   In 7 to 9 minutes each essay finalist delivered a speech based on the finalists’ essay on the theme: Growing Global Citizens at HBCUs.   Spirited competition produced the following winners and runners up:

  • First: Joshua Lewis, Sophomore, Biology
  • Second: Angel Randall, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Third: Joshua Livingston, Senior, Chemical Engineering
  • Honorable Mention: Terrie Fields, Sophomore, Communication
  • Honorable Mention: Kasandra Love, Sophomore, Psychology

“The judges had a difficult time deciding because all of the contestants performed so well,” said PVAMU Professor Dr. Nathan Mitchell, chief auditor,  assisted by Mrs. Chelsee  Hill Young of the Honors Program staff.

Finalists had produced essays ranging from 1,700 to 2,500 words.  Rubrics for evaluating the essay and the oratory components of the contest were provided to all writers when the contest was announced. Narrowing the entries  to the top five became the duty of managing judge, Dr. Josette Bradford, Director of the Student Academic Success Center ; Dr. Lee McGriggs, Associate Professor of Political Science; longtime K-16  educators, Mrs. Gwen Carter, Mrs. Johnnie Walker, and  Mrs. Irma Kendrick;  Writing Center Director , Ms. Joy Patterson; and Director of Academic Advising Services , Dr.  Alvin Johnson .  According to Provost Emerita Dr. E. Joahanne  Thomas-Smith, the theme Growing Global Citizens at HBCUs was not one of those topics about which one could simply record personal experience or rely on hearsay. It required research, critical thinking, creativity, reflection, and serious academic writing. Broadening the quality of the undergraduate educational experience is at the center of the University’s strategic plan and  President, Ruth J. Simmons, herself a global citizen, has challenged the faculty and staff to be increasingly more  creative and innovative in ensuring that graduates are prepared to live and work in an increasingly complex, interconnected world.

All writers, regardless of final ranking, deserve applause. Ms. Kimberley Gay, Head of Reference and Public Service in the J.B. Coleman Library provided specialized services to all students who entered the contest. For essay finalists, Dr. Reginald Bell, Professor of Business held an oratory clinic aimed at helping the speakers to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for success. Among the topics addressed were appropriate attire, body language, stage presence,  voice and diction, time management, et cetera.  Oratory Showcase judges who brought to the task great respect for students and impressive globalization experience included Dr.  Natali  Hritonenko, Professor of Mathematics; Dr. Joanna Mann, Professor, Department of Languages and Communication; and Attorney Everdean Myers, Executive Director, International Studies.

Before what is being touted as the largest audience ever for the contest, the finalists challenged HBCUs to initiate a wide range of globalization strategies ranging including but not limited to redesigning core courses to include global perspectives, breaking the bonds  of traditional  college matriculation,  employing social media to connect with  students worldwide, initiating international internships in every degree major, expanding language study opportunities, and becoming more creative in assisting students with paying for study abroad.

Congratulations to the winners of the Oratory Showcase of Fifth Annual Essay and  Oratory Contest.