February 25, 2021
A Martinsville High School student earned first place Wednesday in an oratorical contest held by Eastman Performance Films.
Javeon Moorer, a tenth-grade student at MHS, earned first place with his speech on Booker T. Washington, the foremost black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Moorer competed in the Southside Speaks Black History Oratorical Contest against three finalists from Bassett, Magna Vista, and Patrick County High Schools.
The focus of the contest, held virtually, was to highlight African Americans from the Commonwealth of Virginia who have made significant contributions to history and to provide high schoolers with the opportunity to share their writing, public speaking, and leadership skills.
Rachel Mills, a student at Patrick County High School, spoke about civil rights activist Barbara Johns. Claire Smith, a student at Bassett High School, spoke about the Martinsville Seven, a group of young black men executed in 1951 after being convicted of raping a white woman. Emily Williams, a student at Magna Vista High School, spoke about Henrietta Lacks, a black woman whose cancer cells are the source of one of the most important cell lines in medical research.
“We are very proud of Javeon and this great accomplishment,” said MCPS Superintendent Dr. Zeb Talley. “He takes great pride in his endeavors. Javeon is a dedicated student and will make a great impact in the education field.”
“We’re extremely proud of Mr. Moorer’s first-place win!” said MHS Principal Aji Dixon. “He is an extremely articulate and talented young man with a great deal of potential, and we certainly appreciate Eastman for providing this opportunity to students in our community.”