Lorna C. Hill Speaking Contest
Interested Scholars REGISTER HERE.
The all-new Lorna C. Hill Speaking Contest is an exciting opportunity for students to showcase and hone their public speaking and performance talents, as well as edify their voices by performing text excerpts, poems, prose, or monologues. Students will use a wide selection of Black and African American authors from the Canon of Black Literature to perform on stage. All high school students district-wide will be invited to join this fun and exciting contest. Preliminary contests will be organized by teacher leaders and will take place in each high school. Scholars who place in the school-based preliminary contest will compete in the Lorna C. Hill Speaking Contest Finals at the Ujima Theatre Company in February 2023. Prizes will be awarded to final contest winners and include an anthology from the Canon of Black Literature, a theater internship opportunity, and a trip to New York City to attend a Broadway play!
The Lorna C. Hill Speaking Contest honors one of Buffalo’s own. Lorna C. Hill was an actor, director, and producer from the Buffalo area. She was also the founder and Artistic Director of the Ujima Theatre Company, Inc. and a true trailblazer for Black women in this field. Ms. Hill was among the first women accepted at Dartmouth College, and in spring of 1973 became one of the first Black women to graduate from the College; she held a B.A. in American Intellectual History. She also received an M.A. in Theatre in 1978 at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 2014, she retired from the Buffalo Public Schools, where she taught theatre at the Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts. She was a recipient of a plethora of local and national recognitions. Most importantly, she served as a community resource for organizations that prioritized women’s empowerment, arts and culture, children's rights, and building community.
In addition to being a teacher at Performing Arts High school and a renowned actress and theater director, Lorna C. Hill has provided support to the Buffalo Public Schools Theatre programs, including training students and teachers in the MBK, August Wilson monologues and Our Story Project instructional programs. Given her passion for drama, public speaking, historical accuracy through performance, her love for students, and her many years of service and longstanding friendship with the Buffalo Public Schools, we would like to bestow the honor of naming our new high school speaking contest in the legacy and artistic genius of the late, Ms. Lorna C. Hill.