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For Immediate Release
Jan. 15, 2008

CONTACT: RAY RIVAS, 713.-276-5508


Houston youngsters compete in 12th Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition

HOUSTON, JAN. 15- Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP will present the 12th Annual Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition at the historic Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ on Friday, Jan. 18.
Ten fourth and fifth grade students from Houston-area elementary schools will write and present five-minute speeches, based on Dr. King’s ideals, on this year’s topic, “What opportunities will I have in my life because of Dr. King?” The students will be judged by a panel of well-known local community and business leaders. All participants will receive a college savings bond with the winner receiving a $1,000 savings bond. The competition opens at 9:45 a.m. with a performance from the Salvation Army Harbor Lights Choir.
Gardere established the Houston oratory competition in 1997 to commemorate the life of Dr. King. Presented in the spirit of learning and celebration, the program was designed to highlight the cultural diversity of the community while recognizing and encouraging the writing and speaking skills of elementary school students. The students’ presentations will focus on how Dr. King’s words have inspired them personally and can inspire the community as a whole. Students must first compete in a preliminary competition against classmates at their respective schools. The 10 school winners compete against each other in the finals.
“Gardere hopes to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy in a unique way in Houston,” said Claude Treece, event coordinator and partner at Gardere. “Although many Houstonians pay tribute to him with parades, festivals or marches; our goal at the firm is to promote Houston’s diversity and inspire students to share their dreams with fellow students, as well as the community.”
The 12th Annual Houston competition continues to grow in popularity throughout the area, and students and faculty at participating schools eagerly look forward to the event each year. Gardere began the competition as an opportunity for elementary students to celebrate their city’s diversity and to
promote awareness and understanding of its different cultures. The oratory competition is held in
conjunction with the national holiday honoring Dr. King, allowing the local community to remember his vision of peace and harmony in a unique way.
Last year, 10-year-old Harvey Pittman II of Lucian L. Lockhart Elementary School won over the crowd and the judges with his passionate call to “Fight for equality. Fight for education. Fight for your dreams. And fight to win.”
Schools participating in this year’s Houston oratory competition include Atherton, Crespo, Dodson, Lockhart, MacGregor, Park Place, Peck, Pleasantville, Thompson and Whidby. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the final competition on Jan. 18 to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King.


Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, an AmLaw 200 firm, was founded in 1909 and is one of the Southwest’s largest full-service law firms. With offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and Mexico City, Gardere provides legal services to private and public companies and individuals in areas of energy, litigation, corporate, tax, environmental, labor and employment, intellectual property and financial services.

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