MLK day oratorical contest

The Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will host its 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Oratorical Program on today.

It's actually the 35th year for the MLK Day celebration, which will again be held at the Hylton Memorial Chapel, 14640 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge. 

The program is free. Doors will open at 10 a.m., and various vendors and community organizations will be in attendance.

At 11 a.m., six students in grades six through 12, representing schools from Prince William County, Manassas City and Manassas Park, will display their oratorical skills by speaking on the theme “Let Freedom Ring.” The six students will be selected at a regional contest held the week before. 

“The 2020 theme, ‘Let Freedom Ring,’ is actually a return to theme we used to inspire our orators at the first oratorical contest back in 1991,” Sheila Bryant, co-chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day program, said in a news release.

Program co-chair Sandra Mitchell added, “The audience at the 2020 program will hear about these ideals from the optimistic and courageous, which will remind us of our better selves, what we can be, and what the future can hold for us.”

Fourth- and fifth-grade students from area elementary schools were invited to participate in a writing contest as part of the program. The winners are announced at the program.

Another highlight of the celebration is the performance by the MLK Community Choir comprised of children in grades K-12, under the musical direction of Ivory Lawrence Coleman.

PWCAC-DST also invites the community to participate in its “Day of Service” project at the program. Donations of non-perishable food items and new/slightly used winter wear will be collected for distribution to Prince William area families through local nonprofits, such as the Prince William Community Foundation, The Good News Kitchen and Streetlight Community Outreach Ministries. 

For more information on the oratorical program, choir practices and day of service, visit

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