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Oratorical Scholarship Contest and Poster Contest

The purpose of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship fund is to provide financial assistance to college bound youth who strive to become productive citizens and give back to their communities.  Oratorical candidates must write and perform  an oral presentation on selected topics on Dr. King in front of a panel of local community leaders and educators.

Scholarships are awarded to first, second and third place winners.  One of these Candidates also has the option of receiving a $3000 scholarship to attend Seminole State College.

This event will be held 6:00 p.m. Friday, January 13, 2023, at Seminole State College (Building C Room 110 A & B),  100 Weldon Blvd., Sanford, FL 32773.  Deadline for completed applications and speech is December 20, 2022. Applications are available from the school guidance counselor, MLK website or a committee member.

Participants in the Poster Contest are local elementary school students who have completed drawings relating to Dr. King.  Judging of the submitted posters is also conducted by community leaders and educators  before the Oratorical Contest.   Cash awards are given to students for first, second and third place winners.  Posters will be on display during the Oratorical Scholarship Contest and the  winning posters will be on display at the Commemorative Banquet. Interested students may check with their teachers for participations.

Scholarships will be awarded to first, second and third place winners in the name of the following individuals:

  • Joy Eva Lawson Williams (deceased) former MLK Scholarship Committee Chairperson

  • Former Sanford Mayor Bettye D. Smith (creator – Dr. MLK, Jr. Committee)

  • Doris Thomas (deceased), former Seminole County Educator

OPEN TO HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS ONLY! DEADLINE TO SUBMIT APPLICATION AND SPEECH: DECEMBER 20, 2022. For questions, contact Oratorical Chairman Mr. Kenneth Bentley – 407-322-2509 or 321-262-5075, or email


The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee will offer a scholarship to the first, second and third place winners. If one of these winners attend Seminole State College, they will be awarded a $3,000 scholarship. If the first, second, or third place winner does not want to attend Seminole State College this scholarship will be offered to the next contestant.



  • Candidate must be a high school senior planning to attend a college or university after graduation;

  • Candidate must currently have a 2.5 overall GPA earned in high school;

  • Candidate must submit a copy of his/her speech along with a completed application by December 20, 2022.



Create a speech that will allow you to apply one of Dr. King’s quotes to a challenge our country is currently facing. (Choose One Quote)

  • Compare the Past and Future of the Women’s Rights Movement.

  • “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” (Dr. MLK Jr. quote)

  • “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” (Dr. MLK Jr. quote)

  • "It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people." (Dr. MLK Jr. quote)



  • Candidates must write an original speech (oral presentation of between 4 – 6 minutes) and present a copy along with their application. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.

  • Candidate must perform an oral presentation (memorization of speech) without any notes on one of the contest topics.

  • Candidate will be judged on content, originality, and presentation. Oration must be performed on contest topics.



Friday, January 13, 2023 @ 6:00 p.m.

Seminole State College (Building C Room 110 A & B) 100 Weldon Blvd.

Sanford, Florida 32773

**This event may become virtual due to Covid 19**


We encourage all candidates and parents/sponsors to attend our Annual Commemorative Banquet. There is always a dynamic speaker, and a buffet dinner will be served. All candidates will be provided two tickets, one for the student and one for a parent, to the banquet. Any additional tickets must be purchased. All candidates will be given award certificates at the banquet.



  • Scholarship funds will be given to candidates after they have received their fall semester class schedules from their college. Scholarship winners and a parent must sign a Release of Funds document verifying the student’s enrollment status, scholarship amount, and intention to use the funds to defray college expenses.

  • It is the responsibility of the candidate to provide any change of address or new phone number to the scholarship contact person.


DISCLAIMER: Scholarship funds must be claimed by the end of the student’s first academic year in college following graduation. Otherwise, the funds will be forfeited.

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