NEWARK, NJ — The Alpha Alpha Lambda Scholarship & Educational Foundation, Inc. will welcome students from six middle schools to the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Competition on Sat., January 16 at 11:00 a.m., virtually at

The 22nd annual event will feature seven finalists who will deliver their five-to-seven-minute speeches answering the prompt, “Dr. King’s Perspective on the World Today.”

"We were determined to keep this year's competition in place by transitioning to a fully virtual program," said West Orange resident Mark Hassell, chairman of the Alpha Alpha Lambda Scholarship and Educational Foundation. "Imagine our surprise when we received the largest number of submissions to our preliminary round in the program's 22-year history." 

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November's preliminary round was one of the toughest ever with 46 participants vying for the seven coveted finalist spots.

“Our goal is to provide a space for the voices of these young men to be heard,” said Piscataway resident, Dr. Brian D. Agnew, co-chair of this year’s oratorical competition. “This competition is a transformative experience as each of the participants builds confidence, character and a deeper appreciation for what it means to articulate their thoughts and use their voices.”

“After the year we have all had, it brings hope and inspiration to see Dr. King's legacy in action through this new generation of future presidents, doctors, community activists, lawyers, college professors and global thought leaders,” added Agnew.

The preliminary round of the oratorical competition, held on November 20, 2020, welcomed the largest number of submissions in program history. During the six-week timeframe between the preliminary and final rounds, the seven finalists were assigned an Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter member mentor/coach who helped them practice and perfect their monologues in anticipation of the final round of competition.

“Thanks to our sponsors, in addition to all seven finalists receiving cash awards, this year's top three finalists will also each receive a Chromebook laptop,” said Hassell.

The seven finalists participating in the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Competition are: Noah Akinnuoye, 7th grader at South Orange Middle School in South Orange; MD Chowdhury and Chisom Ike, 8th graders at Mount Vernon School in Newark; Kamsiyochukwu Keke, 7th grader at Far Brook School in Short Hills; Joshua King, 8th grader at 13th Avenue/Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School in Newark; Malachi Michel, 7th grader at Aquinas Academy in Livingston and Zaa'khir Witherspoon, 7th grader at Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark.

This year's competition is sponsored by the Alpha Alpha Lambda Scholarship & Educational Foundation, Inc.; the Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; Mitchell Titus, the largest minority-controlled accounting firm in the United States and Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., the nation's largest comprehensive minority law firm.

The Alpha Alpha Lambda Scholarship and Educational Foundation, Inc. provides support and funding to a wide variety of scholarship and educational programs in and around Essex County, New Jersey. In line with the mission, vision and values of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. this foundation seeks to raise the educational achievement, confidence and life experience of young Black men. The foundation was founded by a group of Alpha Alpha Lambda Brothers in 1986, who recognized a need to support African-American youth by providing scholarship funds for the greater Essex County community.

Through the generous support of the members of the fraternity coupled with invaluable community support, the foundation has been able to provide over $200,000 in valuable programming and financial resources to local students at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels, supporting their endeavors and encouraging them to pursue a higher education. To make a donation or for more information on scholarship programs supporting Essex County youth visit