Dupont Park Student Wins Oratorical Contest
Story by LaTasha Hewitt
Chase McClure, a third-grader at Dupont Park Adventist School (DPAS) in Washington, D.C., placed first in the annual Frederick Douglass Oratorical Contest.
Held at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in D.C., the goal of the contest is to capture the power of words, inspiration and interpretation of Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist.
McClure was invited to repeat his winning oration at the Frederick Douglass Birthday Celebration held in February. “I was excited about winning first place in the contest, and I’m grateful to God for putting His blessings in my life!” he says.
George E. Thornton, Sr., principal, and Charles Johnson, vice principal, thought this would be a great opportunity and experience for their students. Without hesitation, they entered eight students into the contest. For three weeks, these students memorized excerpts from speeches given by Douglass. Sixth-grader Imani Yates recalls, “At first, I was nervous; but the more I practiced, the more comfortable I became.”
Students toured Douglass’ home while visiting the site. “I didn’t know he lived right here in D.C., and he was so powerful!” says Christopher Henderson, a second-grade participant. The tour left a lasting impression on the importance of who Douglass was and why it is important to carry on his legacy.
“The contest de nitely tested my public speaking skills and abilities,” says eighth-grader Ayanna McInnis.
“They made all of us who were in attendance— parents, teachers, relatives—very proud! We are eagerly looking forward to participating in next year’s contest,” says Thornton.