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These powerful speeches from Clear Creek Amana students inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.
Three students named finalists last month at the district’s first Martin Luther King Jr. speech competition for 3-5th graders
Mar. 6, 2023 9:49 am
TIFFIN — Three elementary students were recognized as finalists last month at the Clear Creek Amana Community School District’s first Martin Luther King Jr. speech competition last month.
Students in third, fourth and fifth grade were asked to memorize and recite an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech followed by their own speech.
Each building held a building level competition where the finalists were chosen to advance to compete in the competition on Feb. 10.
All 29 student participants from the elementary school’s did a fantastic job and wrote thought-provoking speeches, many which were about equity, world peace and sustainability.
The speeches were judged by:
- LaNisha Cassell, executive director of the African American Museum of Iowa,
- Grace King, K-12 education reporter for The Gazette,
- Christine Berlin, Clear Creek Amana High School teacher librarian and head speech coach
- And Gant Elsbernd, Clear Creek Amana Middle School counselor and assistant speech coach.
Below are each grade winner’s speeches. The districtwide winner was Sofia Parker, a fifth-grader at Oak Hill Elementary School. The competition was recorded and is available to watch at youtube.com/watch?v=TIoSA1v9n6Q
Each speech began with the recitation of a portion of the “I Have A Dream Speech:
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight …“
Sofia Parker, 5th Grade at Oak Hill Elementary
“I have a hope, I have a prayer, and I have a quest to help us all live out our lives as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hoped we would: to help every boy and every girl live in a world where equality reigns.
What that means to me is not judging anyone by what they look like or what they sound like or where they come from or what they believe in. It means not segregating or hating anyone. It means opening our hearts to each and every person. It means expressing our differences peacefully, not with force but with an open mind and love.
Dr. King would want us to come together to make a difference — treat others the way we would want to be treated and work together to make a way, even when there seems to be no way. He would tell us to help each other through doubt, worry and share with each other our victories and success.
Dr. King taught us that in the United States of America, life is better together than apart. Dr. King would remind us it is our solemn duty to make America an even better place for everyone to live.
So me, you, all of us have the power to fulfill Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. It was fulfilled by many but we don’t only need it to be fulfilled by you, we need it to be fulfilled by all of us. He would tell us to grab our dreams, hold on to them and never let go. Dr. King never gave up on his dreams, so why should we?“
Deeksha Sekhar, 3rd Grade at North Bend Elementary
“What inspires hope in me is seeing other people share love. If we share love, we will treat each other like a big family. If we all care about each other, even though we have big problems we will still be together. It is important now and in the future because that’s how we create a family. Love and hope is the key to family.
Imagine if people had no family and they didn’t love each other. That’s why love is here to save the day and bring us together. Wouldn’t you like that? Even though you’re not best friends, be kind to each other.
When you do everything with love and passion, it makes it easier. Love is boarder-less. Love is free. Love is what makes us human.
So forget the differences, forgive the mistakes and be an example by loving unconditionally. Let’s make this world a better place for us and generations to come.“
Jadzia Connorridge, 4th Grade Clear Creek Elementary
"It is my hope, that some day, some how, we will come together and stop human-caused extinction. If we accomplish this, then thousands of species that we are killing for our wants would live! Future generations would be able to see animals that are endangered now.
It may seem small now, but someday — if we don't stop extinction — there may not be many species left. You may think, why does this girl care about this? Here is your answer: these animals have been our history, they are part of our history. Losing them would mean future children won't be able to learn from these species.
Long ago, humans sailed ships infested with rats to where the dodo birds lived. The rats ate the dodo bird's eggs and humans hunted them to extinction. A more recent example is the Sunda Island tiger. It is endangered because of loss of habitat and humans hunting them. There are fewer than 400 still alive! As with most endangered species, we should save the Sunda tiger by preserving habitats all over the world.
I believe that we can and will be able to stop human caused extinction."