Four students presente excerpts from their top-ranked entries in the 30th annual oratorical contest. The winners presented together while seated onstage on couches, to create a conversational feel.

A record 59 students submitted entries in the contest, for which the theme was “What Would You March For?” The four winners are:

• Cassandra Bey, “I March For The Children”

• Matt Lee, “Profiling In America”

• Tabrielle Matthews, “Equal Rights”

• Helen Susman, “I’d March For Women’s Rights”

This is the third consecutive year the high school has partnered with The Oak Park Regional Housing Center to sponsor the contest as a way of highlighting the community’s history and role in promoting diversity. The Housing Center’s Rob Braymaier is sponsoring the prize of $350, which will be split among the four winners.

The presentation of the winning essay is always a highlight of the annual assembly, which asks students and staff to reflect on Dr. King’s life, teachings, and legacy. This year’s assembly also featured Rev. Rashaad Saffo of Maywood’s United Faith Missionary Baptist Church, reading from Dr. King’s last speech before his death, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” In addition, the OPRF Gospel Choir performed. The audience was surprised as preselected students silently stand up throughout the Auditorium, holding signs that state what the community at OPRF can do now to increase the peace.

The assembly was held twice on Friday, Jan. 17, during back-to-back periods at 8:45 a.m. and 9:40 a.m.

Many thanks to the 2014 essay contest judges: Rob Braymaier, Marci DiVerde, Kyle Farley, David Gilmer, Steve Goldberg, Naomi Hildner, Chala Holland, Jay Lind, Heidi Lynch, Mr. Cameron McLaughlin, Allison Myers, Cindy Milojevic, Melinda Novotny, Nathaniel Rouse.

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