OPRF Freshman Wins 39th Annual MLK Oration Contest

January 11, 2016

For only the second time in recent memory, and the second year running, a freshman student, Morgan Varnado, has written the winning essay for OPRF High School’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Assembly. This year’s prompt was, “Describe a song that you feel celebrates diversity.”

In his piece, Morgan writes about Steve Wonder’s song “Black Man,” from his 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. Morgan writes about the song touching on the lack of equity in the United States and the absence of people of color in history books. He will present his essay to the student body during back-to-back assemblies at 8:45 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. on Fri., Jan. 15.

For the fifth year in a row, the high school and the Oak Park Regional Housing Center (OPRHC) are partnering to sponsor the contest as a way of highlighting the community’s history and role in promoting diversity. OPRHC is sponsoring the annual prizes: $200 for first place, $100 for the second-place winner, sophomore (and last year’s winner) Grace Johnson, and $50 for the third-place winner, junior Sydney Jackson.

The presentation of the winning essay is always a highlight of the annual assembly, which asks students and staff to reflect on Dr. King’s life, teachings, and legacy. Many thanks to the OPRHC and its executive director, Rob Breymaier, for sponsoring and helping to judge the contest.