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On January 21, 2013 the International House of Blues Foundation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by hosting an annual oratory competition for children of all grade levels in Las Vegas, Nevada. The International House of Blues Foundation is a charity supporting the education of children about American culture and helping their teachers integrate arts and cultural content into classroom curriculums.
Nevada Supreme Court Justice, Michael Douglas, opened the competition and encouraged all nervous orators to relax and enjoy the experience. Close to fifty students took their turn delivering original speeches based on the actions and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At the High School level, speeches about freedom, challenges, controversies and actions Americans take to reform inequalities were given.
Justice Michael Douglas awarded certificates to all the courageous orators and awarded prizes to winners in first, second and third places. Winners in the Kindergarten through Second grade level were Will Haley, Mitchell Davis and Willem Maniago. In the Third through Fifth grade category, Ken Haley, Martin Blake and Ryan Yi took awards. Michael Tracy, Elizabeth Carleton and Mariana Castaneda won in the Sixth through Eighth grade levels. The Tenth through Twelfth grade awards went to Madison Santoli, David Wanene and Maegan Williams. Comments were made that this was a positive and educational way for children to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday and appreciation to the International House of Blues Foundation was given.
Written by Marie Eisele
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