​High schoolers participate in oratorical contest on campus

Inner-city students from Huntsville gathered in Lloyd Hall Friday to partake in the Victory Through Voice oratorical contest.

The contest, which was organized through the New College, showcased young speakers whose stories dealt with personal difficulties and their passion to succeed in life.

The students are all members of an after-school program at the Huntsville Inner City Christian Learning Center. Program director Jahnitta Lovejoy said many of the students come from broken homes. She said the students are passionate about learning and, despite having the odds against them, they strive to succeed.

“One of the goals is to build future leaders in the community,” she said. 

Cynthia Maugeri, a senior majoring in public relations, said the young speakers moved her.

“They were all so brave,” Maugeri said. “They have more courage than I do as a 21-year-old.”

Students toured the University’s campus to see hands-on what a college experience is like. The students visited landmarks like Bryant-Denny Stadium and ate at Lakeside Dining Hall.

Numerous guest speakers attended the event to discuss the importance of pursuing knowledge. Robert Hayes, assistant dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, was one of the judges and guest speakers.

The authenticity of the stories resonated with Hayes, he said. He said he hopes the program will continue to grow and hopefully one day The University of Alabama can provide scholarships through the program.

Julia Quan, a sophomore majoring in political science and Chinese, helped run the event. She said she is passionate about the oratorical contest because of its connection to New College. She said the Victory Through Voice program has offered an outlet for the students to share their personal stories.

Quan said the program draws in younger students to cement a foundation for the future. She said she was inspired by the students’ stories of perseverance.

“These kids are fighters,” she said. “They have broken homes. Some are survivors of abuse. For me, someone who is privileged, watching these kids share their testimonies inspires me.”

Awards were given at the end of the contest. The awards were divided by age and division. All the students were commended for their speaking abilities.

Compiled by Blain Bradley

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