BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It takes skill to engage a crowd on just words. And for 14-year-old Joshua Campbell, he did just that at WJZ’s Black History Oratory Contest.

Christie Ileto introduces us to the winner whose words took him straight to first place.

When Joshua Campbell isn’t hitting the books, he’s wowing crowds with inspirational words.

“Booker T. Washington said ‘success is to not be measured by the position he has reached in life, but by the obstacles he has overcome,’” Campbell said.

Using that quote for WJZ‘s Black History Oratory Contest, he delivered a speech on Hopkins world renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson and the woman who helped him.

“I spoke on Ben Carson’s mother, and her name was Sonya,” Campbell said. “I feel that no one really thinks about the role that she played in his life.”

His words helped him beat out 19 others for first.

“Words could not describe how excited I was,” Campbell said.

And he’s thanking one woman for his win: his mother.

“I would say that I am a good student and do well in school, but I wouldn’t say that’s all about me and all about my studying habits because my mom is like 75 percent of that,” he said.

His mother says Sunday was her first time hearing the speech.

“I was very surprised,” said Pam Campbell, mother. “I was really blessed to hear that what I do and what I have been doing–homeschooling them and just doing the mom thing–has had an impact on him.”

At 14, Joshua Campbell walks away with a $2,300 prize that won’t just go toward one day paying for med school.

“It’s amazing that I won, but I want to give back and not just keep it all for myself,” he said.

Joshua Campbell says that his older brother got second place in last year’s contest. He jokes that his win gives him bragging rights for the time being but says it’s all brotherly love.

The 20 finalists all receive scholarships and other prizes.


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