EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School Alumni Association has announced that the fifth annual James E. Bates Memorial Oratory Contest will be held on Tuesday, April 30, 6 p.m. at the Riverside Library. The Contest is free and open to the public.
Named for James E. Bates, the longest serving principal in High School history, the contest gives East Providence High School juniors and seniors the opportunity to craft an original speech and to deliver that speech as a formal oration before an audience. By providing a civic forum in which student orators might engage in reasoned discourse, the Alumni Association seeks to establish a model for vigorous but respectful debate.
This year, the students will respond to Jackie Robinson’s remarks on the nature of freedom: “There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.”
The students will place Robinson’s words in historical context and provide a gloss on the quote. At the same time, they will evaluate Robinson’s perspective and comment on what meaning it might have for present-day Americans.
The Alumni Association welcomes as this year’s keynote speaker Michaela Johnson, a 2006 graduate of East Providence High School and a 2010 graduate of Bridgewater State University. Johnson, who was a star athlete at both East Providence and Bridgewater State, has served as a co-host of The Rhode Show on WPRI 12 since 2010.
Robert Perry, Latin teacher at East Providence High School, will serve as Master of Ceremonies, The Judges Panel consisting of Christine Jenkins, James Manchester, and Michael Frazier will adjudicate the Contest.