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Winner Says WJZ's Black History Oratory Contest Paid Off

BALTIMORE (WJZ)--It takes talent to engage a crowd with words alone. Winners of WJZ's Black History Oratory Contest do just that!

Suzanne Collins reports there is still time to enter.

The winners turn quotes of famous figures in black history into a compelling oratory. One of the three winners in 2010 found the contest challenging and fun, and it really paid off.

"What came from it: I got on TV. Really cool people congratulated me. I got a scholarship out of it. And it just gave me more experience," said Shelby Kestler, 2010 winner.

Kestler is encouraging students to enter this year's WJZ Black History Oratory Contest.  You still can by Monday's deadline. She thinks the public speaking skills go a long way.

"You definitely want to be able to speak properly, and you want to be comfortable with it," Kestler said. "It's a good talent to have."

Kestler competes now with a team from the Catholic High School in Baltimore. She hopes to get college scholarship money that way.

"I've seen her meet people, talk to people, be up in front of people, and it's like 'Is that my kid?'" said Shelby's mother Dianne Kestler.

Kestler was at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum up on the stage. All eyes were on her. It was quiet. She felt nervous, but the minute she began to speak all the fear left her.

And when the clapping starts. It's worth it.

"It feels good. It's like [a] total rush," Kestler said.

Learn more about WJZ's Black History Oratory Contest by clicking here.  

The deadline to enter is Monday, and the presentations are given on Feb. 20.

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