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Dominion Middle School Student to Give Remarks During 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Breakfast

 MLK speaker

December 6, 2021 -- Congratulations to Dominion Middle School eighth grader Elena Earley on being selected as the Columbus City Schools (CCS) student speaker for the 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Breakfast next month. Mifflin Middle School sixth grader Ja’Vion Whitehead is the District’s runner-up. 

The MLK Jr. Breakfast, one of the largest in the nation honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King, will be held virtually on January 17, 2022. This year’s theme: “How long, Not long,” taken from the “Our God is Marching On!” speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., after the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965.

The District’s oratorical contest was open to all CCS students in grades 6-12. To enter, students composed and submitted a recording of themselves delivering an original three-minute speech using the theme, How Long? Not Long. A committee reviewed the submissions, choosing both a winner and runner-up. The contest provides students with a real-world opportunity to practice the essential building blocks of English instruction: reading, writing and speaking.

“The students read speeches and researched articles to gather ideas for their oration. Each student had to compose a well-organized speech that has a clear claim and evidential support, and deliver a speech using on-grade-level language with confidence,” said Lead Secondary English Curriculum Coordinator Carla Mae Phillips. “It is a chance for our students to gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment.”

Earley is a 4.0 student. She participates in numerous extracurricular activities, including the Power of the Pen writing team, chess, track, and volleyball teams. She is also a member of the chamber orchestra. Just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did, the thirteen-year-old is determined to have a positive impact on the world. She takes pride in her Hispanic heritage and loves and appreciates the cultural differences of others. Her plans include going to law school and becoming an attorney, so she can help others find justice in a sometimes unjust world.  

Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon will introduce Earley and two other student speakers; leading up to the keynote address. The Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson, Ph.D., is the keynote speaker. 

To learn more on how you can join the celebration, visit