Campbell Elementary School Sweeps Oratory Finals

Elementary School Students Competed in 3rd Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition


Austin, Texas – Kendal Travis, a fifth grader at Campbell Elementary School, won the Annual Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition. The 11-year old said Dr. King has inspired him to want to go to college and become a running back in the NFL. He received a $1,000 college savings bond.

Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, in partnership with the Austin Area Heritage Council (AAHC), presented the 3rd Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center on Wednesday. Five fourth and fifth graders from Campbell and Sims Elementary schools wrote and presented speeches, based on Dr. King’s ideals, on this year’s topic, “If You Could Share Your Dream With Dr. King What Would It Be?” KVUE news anchor Olga Campos was the mistress of ceremonies.

Campbell student Courtney Taylor came in second place and her classmate Brandi Hennington was awarded third place. The finalists were Kiara Burkhalter and Reyna Palacios from Sims Elementary School. All of the participants received college savings bonds. A panel of local business, community and civic leaders judged the students on their content, delivery, stage presence and decorum, expression and memorization.

More than 280 students, representing a total of 20 schools in Austin, Dallas and Houston, competed in preliminary contests over the past month for the right to represent their schools in the final competitions. In Dallas, Dalton Sherman, a fourth grader at Charles Rice Learning Center, took top honors. The winner in Houston was Perri Jones, a fourth grader from Julius Dodson Elementary School.

Gardere established the oratory competition 16 years ago in Dallas to commemorate the life of Dr. King and to highlight the writing and speaking skills of elementary school students. “The goal of the firm is to promote diversity and to inspire children to share their dreams with fellow students and the Austin community, “ said Kimberly Yelkin, partner in charge of the Gardere Austin office. The oratory competitions were held in conjunction with the national holiday honoring Dr. King to remember his vision of peace and harmony.

Courtney Taylor congratulates classmate Kendal Travis

Austin winners Brandi Hennington, Courtney Taylor and Kendal Travis

Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, an AmLaw 200 firm, was founded in 1909 and is one of the Southwest’s largest full-service law firms. With offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and Mexico City, Gardere provides legal services to private and public companies and individuals in areas of energy, litigation, corporate, government affairs, tax, environmental, labor and employment, intellectual property and financial services.


Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
600 Congress Ave., Suite 3000
Austin, Texas 78701-2978
512-542-7000, 512-542-7100 fax