MLK Oratorical: Practice Makes Progress

MLK Oratorical: Practice Makes Progress

Families are an important part in our students’ success in the MLK Oratorical Festival Competition. Squirrels have begun practicing in school and coaching resumes this week. Students must finalize their pieces with teachers by Friday, Jan. 11.

Dr. King was a lover of both the written and the spoken word. The most important aspect of your child’s participation in this tradition is to experience the study and mastery of a text and the power of sharing their voice with their community. The more they live with their pieces, the more they will be confident and free on stage. We encourage you to sit with your children, read through their pieces together, talk about the meaning and guide them through this process. The Oratorical is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, understand our shared history and teach our children to be voices for justice in their own lives.

Please work with your child(ren) on memorizing and delivering the selected oratorical pieces. Ten minutes a day, before bed or upon waking, will be extremely helpful. Once students have memorized their work, you can help them stay within the time limit (under 3 minutes for individuals and under 5 minutes for small groups) and offer them constructive feedback to boost their confidence.

The MLK Oratorical Festival is a competition, so it differs from other Sequoia events. All participants are evaluated against one another using the same criteria, and four winners will advance to the district-wide competition. We hope you and your children will find value in their participation regardless of the outcome. The judging criteria are here: The competition rules are here:

We ask all participants to attend the evening assembly the night before the Oratorical Festival on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m. The evening will be an open mic-style event, giving students an opportunity to run their pieces in front of an audience before the actual event. We strongly encourage you to attend with your families to celebrate our students and this wonderful Sequoia community. Questions? Contact Lara Clayman ( or John Colleton (

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