The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

Hear, Ye! Hear, Ye! Oratory Contest Set For Thursday!


Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” 

King’s words resonate strongly in February, as Americans dedicate the entire month to the accomplishments of African-Americans in this country. Black History month originated from what was called “Negro History Week,”  created by African-American historian, publisher, educator, and scholar Carter G. Woodson in 1926. This was until President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month in 1976. Ford urged the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Elkhart High School’s own Ms. Janie Boyden has made it her mission to advocate for African-American History. As a leader of the Sigma Beta Upsilon, she–in conjunction with the EHS Speech Team–is presenting the 27th Annual African-American History and Current Issues Oratory Contest this Thursday, Feb. 22.

Boyden has taught the last 38 years at Elkhart High School. Her lifelong love of learning has compelled her to become a great mentor teaching more than classroom principles, but real-world learning, as well. Boyden comes from the predominantly African-American area of Gary, Indiana. Her background has allowed her to reach a diverse amount of students by being a role model and influencing them to be their best. “My experience with students has been very rewarding,”said Boyden.

Not only in the classroom, but through Sigma Beta Upsilon, Boyden has inspired improvement of students in their leadership and communication skills. These skills will help students in their current path of completing high school, but also in any other direction they choose to go, whether it be college education or entering the workforce.

The annual oratory contest is only one of the events where Boyden has encouraged the growth of students. “I enjoy watching the students become confident speakers and express their opinions on societal issues,” she says. The oratory is an opportunity to learn for both the students speaking and the audience listening. “It is important to stay open to other people’s cultures, ideas, and opinions,” insists Boyden. “We should sit down and reason together rather than standing on two sides of an issue,” she adds. Mature discussions aid in coming to an agreement in any topic. “Anytime you get a chance to educate yourself on topics you don’t know about, you should take it,” Boyden asserts.

As Black History Month comes to an end, the upcoming African-American History and Current Issues Oratory Contest is the perfect opportunity to fuel up on important knowledge. Don’t miss it this Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Elkhart High School Main Campus in the Little Theater.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ayelen Pichardo Hernandez
Ayelen Pichardo Hernandez, Sports Editor
Hi! My name is Ayelen Pichardo Hernandez. I am a senior at Elkhart High School. I decided to join the publication staff so I could help inform students about current events inside and outside of school. I hope being part of The PENNANT staff will be helpful in continuing to develop my writing skills. I look forward to seeing what this year will bring!

Comments (1)

All The PENNANT Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    Janie BoydenFeb 24, 2024 at 7:57 pm

    Such a good article ! Thanks so much!