Conyers Middle School's Joi Nobles was named the winner of the inaugural Oratorical Competition held March 28 by Rockdale County Clerk of Courts Ruth Wilson's Office and Rockdale County Public Schools.
Eighth graders prepared an original persuasive/motivational speech on the topic of "I am responsible for good government" that was 3-5 minutes in length. Criteria for selection include speech development, effectiveness, speech value, physical demeanor, voice, manner, appropriateness, and correctness (adapted from ToastMasters International). A panel of 11 judges - including Maria von Dickerson, Rockdale Commissioner Doreen Williams, Wilson, Kysa Daniels, State Court Judge Nancy Bills, Teresa Gordy, Candice Jones, CMS Assistant Principal Anterro Graham, attorney Gary Washington, Ga. Piedmont Technical College representative Joel Alvarado, educator Maria Brown, Lonnie Edwards, CMS Principal Allison Barbour - heard and evaluated the entries.
Nobles won the $500 first place prize for having the most effective, impressive speech. Second place went to Davis Middle's Dexter Holmes, Jr., who won $350. Another Davis Middle student, Chelsea Casteal, took third place and won $150. Finalists included Enya McDaniels (Memorial Middle School), Naomi Pinnock (MMS), Amanni Oda (Edwards Middle School), Aryanna Brown (DMS), Lalia Boyd (CMS), Kylie Butler (CMS).
Like many attending the event, Clerk Wilson expressed delight at the level of performance delivered by the young speakers. "I found myself with a tear in my eye at one point, chuckling the next and later shaking my head in agreement as the students took their turns at the microphone. It was a very uplifting experience," said Wilson.
The event included a presentation by Georgia's Path2College 529 college savings plan.
Plans are underway to expand the Oratorical Competition in the 2015-2016 school year to include all middle school students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. This is the first year of this innovative partnership between the Clerk of Courts Office and Rockdale County Public Schools.