By Jonathan McCall

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the 25th year, WJZ was proud to host the annual Black History Oratory Competition, where more than a dozen future leaders had the opportunity to make their voices heard.

By taking a stand and making their voices heard, dozens of young leaders from across Baltimore gave message behind the issues that impact them.

Twenty high school students from the area were selected from more than 100 entries in the 25th annual WJZ Black History Month Oratory Contest.

In their own words they explained what education means to them based on quotes from Malcolm X, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Marian Wright Edelman.

WJZ anchor Vic Carter served as emcee for the event.

“It felt like I was meant to be there,” said Caleb Drummond, the future business major and current Johns Hopkins intern who took home first place.

“To me the speech meant that education is extremely powerful and that we shouldn’t focus on the injustices that have been done to us in education, but how we need to reform and actually educate ourselves better,” said Drummond.

After two weeks of non-stop preparation, Loyola Blakefield freshman Izaac Hester finished second.

He wants his speech on how education can change racism to reach the halls of his own school.

“I feel like this speech can help my community understand everything that was going on… and mesh us together even more than it has already,” said Hester.

Each of the top three winners took home a cash prize and a scholarship.

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