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Students again inspire MLK's Spirit with their Orations

posted Feb 18, 2014, 12:44 PM by Bobby Clark   [ updated Jan 22, 2020, 10:07 AM ]
Travelers Rest, South Carolina -
Alpha Phi Alpha Greenville Foundation was proud to sponsor the 2014 annual Joseph Vaughn Oratorical Competition at the Trone Student Center at Furman University. Ten Greenville High School Students gave wonderful speeches in front of a crowd of parents and supporters.  The annual event concluded the series of events for the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration which is a collaboration between Furman University and the Alpha Greenville Foundation. "The speeches were great examples of the true spirit of our celebration" said Mike Chatman, Chair of the event, "We are very proud of the students here. This is the kind of effort the Foundation and Furman envisioned when we started the event."

The purpose of the competition is to encourage oratorical skills among students in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King and Mr. Joseph Vaughn, who was the first African-American student to attend Furman University. Winners of the contest were selected by a committee of judges after delivering their 4-7 minutes long speeches. Judging criteria was based on the content, delivery, and language of the speeches.  Prizes were provided by the Foundation through the generous contributions of our sponsors.

"Our judges had an extremely difficult task because all of the speeches were very good. The top speeches weren't separated by very much at all. That is a great testament to the talents we have in the Upstate", said Dr. Idella Glen, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at Furman University. Dr. Glen was an instrumental part of the competition and served as co-Chair of the event. Judges also gave individual feedback to each participants to help them improve their oratorical skills.   

Winners of the competition were as follows:

Gold: $450
Kelseigh Redmon
Grade 12

High School
Silver: $250 
Name Removed
by Request

Grade 11

J.L. Mann Academy of Math, Science, and Technology
Bronze: $150


Grade 12
Governor's School
of the Arts

Pictured: Kelseigh Redmon (1st place), Bro. Furman Jackson, Jackson Trice (3rd Place), and Name removed by request (2nd Place).

The contestants in the competition received a $50 finalist prize and a certificate for participation. The Ten contestants are as follows:

  Alivia Blount
Mauldin High School

Jared Dawson
Riverside High School

Jana Kelly
Southside High School

Kelseigh Redmon
Southside High School

Reiney Sanders
Southside High School
Name removed by request
J.L. Mann Academy of Math, Science, and Technology

Domineek Smith
Hillcrest High School

Jackson Trice
Governor's School of the Arts  

Starry Walker
Southside High School

  Jarod Wright
Woodmont High School

The Competition was named after the first African-American Student who attended at Furman University, Joseph Vaughn.  Starting in 1965, Mr. Vaughn proved to be a model student. An English major, he excelled in class, served as head cheerleader, coordinated important campus forums, and volunteered in the Service Corps. Witty and outgoing, he made friends quickly and easily. After graduating from Furman, Vaughn went on to earn master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina and the University of Georgia. From 1969 to 1982 he taught in the Greenville County schools, and in 1981 he was elected president of the South Carolina Education Association, a position he held for almost a decade. Joseph Vaughn passed away in 1991.