Skilled speakers earn kudos
By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent February 13, 2013 3:20PM
Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for Girls student Adele Scott presents her speech on the theme "Stand Tall and Deliver" during the Citywide Elementary Speech Contest at the Glen Park Academy in Gary. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Winners of the 2013 Citywide Elementary Speech Contest are:
Intermediate category — LaTavia Pearson, Williams Elementary School, first; Aniya Edwards, Bailly Preparatory Academy, second; and Assata Gaines, Banneker Achievement Center, third.
Primary category — Jaden
Johnson, Jefferson Elementary School, first; Jaliah Butler, Glen Park Academy for Excellence in Learning, second; and Faith Edwards, Bailly, third.
Updated: April 15, 2013 2:13AM
Tears of joy and relief rolled down 12-year-old Williams Elementary sixth-grader LaTavia Pearson’s face when her name was announced as first-place winner of the annual Citywide Elementary Speech Contest held Jan. 31 at the Glen Park Academy for Excellence in Learning. She won in the intermediate category.
This year’s theme was “Stand Tall and Deliver.” Channeling newspaper carriers of long ago in a costume that included shorts and suspenders, a newsboy cap and a bag filled with newspapers, LaTavia waved a copy of the Post-Tribune yelling, “Extra, Extra!” while delivering a speech that paid homage to Gary’s school superintendent, Cheryl Pruitt.
LaTavia gave accolades to Pruitt, the Gary schools and the teachers, saying all were the best ever. And because LaTavia won in the intermediate category, Williams earned the right to host the championship traveling trophy.
LaTavia, daughter of LaTonya and Cornelius Pearson and student of Ann West-Walker, was a last-minute competitor.
“She started late because another student had to bow out,” West-Walker said. “She had two weeks to prepare for this and she did a wonderful job.”
LaTavia said she was happy to win. “At first I thought I messed up,” she said.
Jefferson Elementary third-grader Jaden Johnson, 9, won first place in the primary level, and Jefferson will host another traveling trophy for a year. He, too, cried tears of joy when his name was called.
Jaden’s speech included a handmade tall tree cut-out that he used as an example of how children should “stand as tall and strong” and do what is right instead of wrong.
When Johnson’s name was announced, his mother, Shawnta Scott, was just as excited as she jumped up from her chair in the audience.
“He worked on this for a long time,” she said.
“This was my first time doing the competition,” he said.
Certificates were also handed out to competitors Faith Edwards, Aniya Edwards, Charity Carson, Assata Gaines, Diamond Murphy, Jaliah Butler, Stephen Jones, Christian McGee, Adele Scott and LaTroy Williams.