OUSD 39th Annual MLK Jr. Oratorical Festival: Registration Open

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OUSDs 39th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Festival begins in January. This year’s theme is “Where Do We Go From Here?: Continuing the Legacy 50 Years Later.” 

Nearly Four Decades in the Making

Thirty nine years ago, the founder of the festival, Donald Oliver, had a vision. He wanted to showcase students’ oratorical skills and he wanted to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. He felt that testing/reading score data did not truly lift up students’ comprehension and fluency skills and abilities. But he knew that delivering an oration was an academic exercise that required students to read and comprehend complex text in order to analyze, synthesize, interpret, critique and present or perform that text (creating a new form through performance) in a competition in public speaking.

Oakland Tech Auditions

  • Thursday, Jan. 25, 3:45 to 5:45 PM, Tech Auditorium 

    Students who’d like help and coaching to prepare for the audition should see Ms. Dallas in A3 during lunch Monday – Wednesday

District-Wide Competition

  • Tuesday, Feb. 6, 9 AM to 12 PM

Finals Competition

  • Sunday, Feb. 11, 1 to 4:30 PM

All District-wide and Finals competitions take place at Castlemont High School at 8601 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland


  • Individual Performer – 1 Performer on Stage
    • Poetry – Published Poetry (3 min)
    • Poetry – Original Poetry (poet performing poem they wrote, 3 min)
    • Speech – Famous & Not So Famous – (3 min)
  • Two or More Performers on Stage  Chorals/Scenes
    • Poetry – Published (up to 5 min)
    • Poetry – Original (written by the performing poets, (up to 5 min)
    • Speech – Famous & Not So Famous (up to 5 min)
    • Drama – Published & Devised (up to 5 min)

Learn more about the festival here.

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