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Teens sharpen their oratorical skills

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By Jesef Williams

INDIAN LAND – The fifth-annual Oratorical Expose, sponsored by the Lancaster District of the AME Zion Church, took place Sept. 24 at El Bethel AME Zion Church in Indian Land.

The event, held each fall, gives local teens a chance to sharpen their public-speaking skills.

Nearly 20 teens competed in this year’s contest.

Each of the 25 churches in the district was asked to spearhead a training forum and pick a student to represent the church.

The teens competed in one of two classes – the senior division (13- and 14-year olds) and the junior division (15-, 16- and 17-year-olds).

Brittany Johnson of Steele Hill AME Zion Church won the senior division and Rayven Massey of North Corner AME Zion Church won the junior division.

The first- and second-place winners in the senior division were awarded $250 and $175, respectively. The top two winners in the junior division got $100 and $75, respectively.

All of the participants received a certificate.

“This year it was excellent,” said Jessie Shannon, who helped organize the event. “I was so pleased with them. I wish we could have given them all a gift.”

Each participant had to choose one of six topics on which to write a speech. Topics included ways to remedy the economic downturn, the role of the Christian church in education and President Barack Obama serving as a symbol of hope.

“The purpose of the oratorical contest was to give youth a chance to develop their speaking abilities and to enhance their lifelong communication skills,” Shannon said.

Participants at event

2009 Oratorical Expose participants (along with their AME Zion church):

• Shanique Blaire (Mount Nebo)

• DaMonte Belk (Cedar Creek)

• Venice Belk (Mount Moriah)

• Ty’reek Bennett (Salem)

• KaKendra Clyburn (Victory Tabernacle)

• Kola David George (Mount Zion)

• Jelisa Gordon (Gold Hill)

• Brittany Johnson (Steele Hill)

• Jalissa McIlwain (Mount Carmel)

• Rayven Massey (North Corner)

• Khadijah Robertson (Pleasant Hill)

• Klane Sanders (Bingham Chapel)

• Jeremiah Stewart (White Oak)

• Alisha Struidyant (Mount Tabor)

• JaQuaza Tucker (Centennial)

• Veron Jarell Wade (David Stand)

• Arineka Williams (El Bethel)

Contact reporter  Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152