Birds Can Sing. It Takes Brains to Talk.

Long ago, before there was Glee, public school offered five or so broad tracks that defined a student's social circle and extra-curricular activities. (We mean legitimate tracks, stoners and gangs are another story.) You had your pageant girls, your jocks, the science kids, the band dorks and the speech/drama/debate nerds. (Yearbook and the school newspaper encompassed a group we'll politely refer to as “other.”) There were variations and subgroups of each, but the vast majority of kids fit into one of those broad categories. Years later, the science crew is totally raking it in with their oncology and cardiology practices but the speech/drama/debaters hold a close second in awesomeness with their doctorates and law firms and college textbook royalties. Know why? Because these are the kids who had to muster up the self-confidence to deliver eight-minute memorized monologues or extemporaneous riffs or dramatic interpretations. These are the people who had to take clichéd topics or tedious Tennessee Williams one-acts and make them inspirational. This wasn’t as hard as organic chem,or as satisfying as round-offs in cheerleading drills, but man … it took chutzpah. And that paid off in spades. The finals of the 20th Annual Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition are equally fulfilling for the audience and the participants for just that reason — you get to see a glimpse of what these confident, eloquent and really young kids will someday offer the world, and they get to see what they’re made of. You’ll be wowed during their turn on stage at the Majestic Theater, 1925 Elm St., at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, January 13. Admission is free, more information can be found at
Fri., Jan. 13, 11:30 a.m., 2012
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Jennifer Davis-Lamm