Breath of Life Speaker/Director Walter Pearson, an Oakwood alumnus, breathed new life into an old tradition when he approached his alma mater last year in an effort to revive an Oakwood public speaking tradition. Through his efforts, and those of an anonymous supporter who donated the prize money, the Breath of Life/Oakwood University Oratorical Contest was formed and on April 10 the first such competition took place at the Business and Technology Auditorium on Oakwood’s campus. The theme of this year’s competition was “Impacting the World for a Better Tomorrow.” The competition began with 23 talented students who participated in the qualifying meets held last November. A volunteer panel of judges comprised of local clergy and faculty and staff members from University of Alabama Huntsville, Alabama A&M University, Calhoun Community College, and Oakwood University evaluated these final six contestants as they competed for first-, second-, and third- place prizes totaling $6,000.
Of those six finalists, Music Education Senior Christine Jobson placed first, Theology Sophomore Philip Kerimiah placed second, and Business Marketing and Communications Senior Lynae Turner placed third, walking away with $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively. The other three contestants—Kaggia Scott, Ashley Stephenson-Jones, and Joseph Holland—all received prizes for placing and competing in the final round.
The event serves as a pilot for possible duplication at the 13 other Seventh-day Adventist institutions throughout North America in the first of what is to become an annual campus event.
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