Listen to this article here

TULSA, Okla. – The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Society is pleased to announce the Tulsa-area students who won art, dance, essay and oratorical contests in conjunction with the Tulsa MLK Parade that will take place on Monday, January 18, 2021. This year marks the 42nd Anniversary of the parade, with the theme “Standing Strong: For Justice, Truth and Freedom.

Student contest winners are as follows:

Youth Art Contest: Students in grades K-6 were asked to create an illustration based on one of three themes that characterizes Dr. King’s life and work – Love, Peace or Unity – and what the theme means to them. All three winning drawings are showcased in the 2021 MLK Souvenir Book.  1st Place ($175):  Hailey McGuire, 6th grade, McKinley Elementary; 2nd Place ($125):  Ava Walters, 2nd grade, Augustine Christian Academy; and 3rd Place ($75):  Serena Siddiqui, 3rd grade, Holland Hall.

Interpretive Dance of Peace Contest: Individuals and team ensembles (ages 18 and younger) were encouraged to create and perform an interpretive dance with the theme of “Peace.” Dancers were judged based on accuracy, showmanship, choreography and performance. Winners are as follows: 1st Place ($500):  Hailey McGuire, 6th grade, McKinley Elementary; and 2nd Place ($350):  Maharai and Marelin Olivares, in 1st and 6th grades, respectively, at Mitchell Elementary.

Essay Contest: Middle school students (grades 6-8) were asked to write a 350-500 word essay on the topic, “I live my life as a reflection of Dr. King’s dream by . . .”  Essays were judged based on originality/creativity, clarity, use of facts or specific examples and other criteria. Their essays are published in the 2021 MLK Souvenir Book.  Prizes were awarded as follows: 1st Place ($250):  Collin Emeric Blake Walters, 7th grade, Oliver Middle School (Broken Arrow Public Schools); 2nd Place ($225):  Alyssa Kay Martin, 8th grade, Union 8th Grade Center; 3rd Place ($200):  Jordan Dodd, 6th grade, McKinley Elementary; 4th Place ($175): Isabella Beaty, 7th Grade, Union 6th/7th Grade Center; and 5th Place ($150): Kaylin Gomez, 6th Grade, McKinley Elementary.

Oratorical Contest:  High school students (grades 9-12) were asked to memorize Dr. King’s iconic “I have a dream” speech for a chance to showcase their oratorical skills. Contestants were judged on clarity, quality, delivery, stage presence and memorization skills. Prizes were awarded to the following: 1st Place ($1,000):  Sage Asher Scott Walters, 9th grade, Oliver Middle School (Broken Arrow Public Schools); 2nd Place ($500):  Raashi Karande, 9th grade, Union Freshman Academy; and 3rd Place ($350):  Makayla Goode, 10th grade, Union High School.

Sage Walters, the 1st Place winner, will perform Dr. King’s speech live for ONE Gas employees at a special Martin Luther King, Jr. event on Thursday, January 14, at 10 a.m. ONE Gas is the official sponsor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest.

Sponsors of MLK Student Awards include PepsiCo, ONE Gas and Boston Avenue United Methodist Church.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Society, Inc. is a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based   501(c) (3) nonprofit organization focused on honoring and preserving the works and ideals that Dr. King practiced. The society has provided programming, leadership development, civic engagement and opportunities for artistic expression involving more than 20,000 boys and girls in Tulsa County and the surrounding area since it was founded in 1978. The Society has awarded $91,000 in scholarships over the past three decades to local high school graduates aspiring to achieve Dr. King’s dream.

Each year, over 100 entries participate in the Tulsa MLK Parade with themed floats, music and marchers. This year’s virtual parade begins at 11 a.m. and will be live-streamed at

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...