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Published on December 8th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Richland County names Youth Oratorical Award WINNERS

Pictured from left: Mrs. Christina Sanders, Triniti Belton, John Tataw, Otiana Thompson, Nacala Zene, Vance Belton, Mrs. Janette Salmon, Councilwoman Julie-Ann Dixon and Walter McDaniels

Richland County, S.C. — Recently, five (5) finalists competed for the master orator award hosted by Richland County Councilwoman Julie-Ann Dixon in partnership with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The ceremony took place at the Columbia Country Club located in Blythewood, SC.

The five finalists were selected from among the program’s participants who are students at more than 25 schools across Richland County. Over the past six months, the contestants worked with professional orators to develop their public speaking skills. In addition to professional oratorical training, the students received training from other community stakeholders in the following areas:

• Academic Professionalism
• Transformational Leadership
• Conflict Resolution
• Soft Skills Training
• Community Service

The five (5) finalists eloquently delivered an original piece they wrote for more than 200 audience members. The first orator, John Tataw of E. L. Wright Middle School, spoke about social media and the effect it has on the mental wellness of our children. Next, Nacala Zene of Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary detailed the adverse effects of bullying and encouraged adults to be more engaged with creating a solution to this social disease. Following, Vance Belton of St. Andrews Middle School spoke with sincere humility and courage about how he challenged himself to achieve greatness despite his personal challenges. Triniti Belton of St. Andrews Middle School took the stage to discuss racism and encouraged the audience to move forward as a country and to embrace the similarities of each race instead of focusing on the differences. Finally, Otiana Thompson of Ridge View High School concluded the ceremony with the topic of imagination to illustrate that every great act begins with a greater thought.

After marveling the panel of judges, the program ended in a draw; all the participants will move forward to the next level as they will prepare to compete against other students in the spring.

“The participants will walk away better people with a clearer and more confident prospective about public speaking, self-confidence, academic excellence, and community service,” stated Councilwoman Dixon. “They challenged themselves to be better, so they are better.”

This mentoring program will continue through the spring with additional seminars and workshops for all participants as each student has been charged with the responsibility of effecting sustainable change within their respective schools.

For more information call 803-576-2060 or email


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