New Jersey Orators 38th Anniversary Journal

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38th Aniversary Scholarship & Awards Program


38 Years Of Teaching Children The Art Of Public Speaking

The Orators, Inc (NJO), is a non-profit organization that teaches the art of public speaking, an appreciation for literature, reading literacy and life skills, primarily to youth of African-American descent from 7 to 18 years of age Today, the organization serves a diverse student ethnicity body

The organization was founded in 1985 by a small group of African-American corporate executives, who were concerned by the lack of formal language skills of young people who visited and interviewed for administrator jobs in central New Jersey companies Aware that communication skills played a major role in achieving academic and career success, this dedicated group established the first NJO chapterThe New Jersey Orators, Inc - Somerset Chapter

Standing: Sitting:

In developing the organization, the founders focused on strong oratorical and verbal skills, as well as an appreciation of literature That focus grew to literature written by African Americans, Hispanic Americans and those of the African Diaspora Also, they sought teaching methodologies that were fun and interactive, and added coaches’ training workshops that focused on formal language, communication styles, and educational approaches to motivating youth Although a volunteer organization, coaches with executive and educational backgrounds were selected because of their strong commitment to the program’s mission Recently, the reading and media arts literacy curriculum has been expanded and includes Oral History Interview skill building

NJO has established a record of achievement and garnered national attention It has grown from one chapter in New Jersey with 16 members to 19 chapters in New Jersey and two in Pennsylvania in excess of 300 members. National organizations such as, The Manhattan Institute, The Points Of Light Foundation, and The Huffington Post, commended its work, such as in November 2000, The Wall Street Journal named it, “Best Run Volunteer Organization in the Nation”. In an online article in November 2012, The Huffington Post cited it as, “an organization that develops positive academic skills”. It continues to attract positive attention, and was awarded the ‘2021 the NJ & African American Chamber of Commerce Diversity Award'; 2019 Johnson & Johnson and Bank of America Community Service Awards; and the 2015 Community Change Award from The NJ Black Issues Convention The growth of NJO is attributed to the following three factors:

1 Excitement generated at performances and statewide competitions

2 Word-of-mouth promotion by parents and youth

3. Referrals by teachers

NJO youth speak for themselves They speak with eloquence and knowledge of their subject matter They are leaders in school, church, and their communities, and they exhibit confidence in their speech and presence

Become a part of this dynamic organization by becoming a coach, judge or other volunteer. Visit www oratorsinc org for more information, and “Like Us” on Facebook

Lanetta Lyons, James Hunter, Eloise Samuels Leon Vinson, Wanda Brooks


Wanda Brooks

Lanetta Lyons

James Hunter Eloise Samuels

Leon Vinson

Executive Board

Wanda Brooks

Dr. Fannie Gordon

Marla Ham-Chakotae

Adam Hunter

James Hunter

Freeman Ingram

Sondra Ivey

Damien Jackson

Eloise Samuels

Advisory Board

Sherle Boone Founder & CEO

W E B DuBois Scholars Institute

Anthony Carter Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion Johnson & Johnson, (Retired)

Rev. Dr. Forest Pritchett Director, Africana Studies

Seton Hall University

Fallon Samuels Aidoo Professor, Historical Preservation Tulane University - Architecture

Donald Bowers Executive Director Ethicon, (Retired)

Honorable Judge James Coleman, Jr New Jersey Superior Court Judge, (Retired)

Pro Bono Partnership, Inc. Legal Services

Dr. Prosper Godonoo Director, Paul Robeson Cultural Center Rutgers University (Retired)

Kevin Hudson Office of the Provost College Placement & Advising Princeton University

Sonia Sanchez Professor, Poet and A

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Archbishop & Spiritual Leader South Africa

Honorary Board Member



An ‘In Memoriam‘ tribute to those whose lifework endures and continues to influence and inform our organization, communities and the world.

Ruth Abernathy Burroughs Nutritionist, Health Coach, and NJO Consultant Ruby Dee Actress and Author Virginia Jones Community Organizer and Newark Coach Don Lyons Entrepreneur, Historian and New Brunswick Coach Kamillah Nurideen Entrepreneur and Somerset Coach

Welcome Message

It hasn ' t been easy , but our New Jersey Orators ( NJO ), a total volunteer organization , operating on small grants and membership dues has survived the last three years of the effects of COVID It required redesigning our programs and processes Yet , with our dedicated volunteers , new partners and continued support from sponsors and grantors , we have adapted our oratorical programming and added new components

Today ’ s luncheon celebrates the 38 th year for our youth organization enhancing youth education throughout the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania . We are proud to have positively impacted thousands of young boys ’and girls ’academic achievement in and out of school with the assistance and dedication of volunteer chapter coaches

Under the professional guidance of Zayna Allen , a journalist and Plainfield Chapter alumna , you will see examples of oratorical skills demonstrated by our graduating Seniors , as well as from those Orators yet to graduate from the Orators ' program You will also observe how alumni from chapters , such as Perth Amboy , Newark , New Brunswick and Lakewood , have grown up and applied these oratorical skills towards their careers in Law, Computer Technology, Politics, and Education, to name just a few

Before we close today with awards , Dr. Daniel Jean , Associate Provost for Special Programs , EOF and Academic Success at Montclair State University will offer a motivating message of how to achieve visionary success through scholarship. We hope that you students in the room will be motivated by his words . While you enjoy your lunch , we also hope you enjoy the entertainment we have for you. Listen to Laticia Lewis provide us with a masterful rendition played on her violin and hear two young Orators from our Plainfield Chapter deliver a Dramatic Duo entitled “Simon Says ”

Today , we will honor two volunteers by presenting them with our NJO Community Service Award Thomas Lukoma and Walter Young Jr are both parents of Orators Thomas has utilized his technical computer development skills to provide maintenance support for our web site Walter has been trained as an NJO Assistant Coach It is this personal giving of technical skills and expertise by our parents and the sacrifice of time and dedication of over 100 coaches that has helped us make it to 38 years in operation

Finally, we want to thank all our volunteers whose commitment to youth empowerment represent the service of many who have carried us this far and continue to guide our youth . Our NJO Coaches , without monetary reimbursement , provide annually over 4,695 hours of In -Kind service to our youth ! Just a fraction of their impact can be seen on the Senior Wall of Fame showcased tonight.

Our theme this year is “Developing Your Vision Through Scholarship ." The meaning of this theme means to take the initiative and use scholarship to move forward to achieve your vision Our Orators use confidence and commitment to work hard , reassess the situation , adjust and move forward to meet their vision Also , we want to thank the 38 th Anniversary Planning Committee who helped to make this program a success: Janet Amankwah, Marcia Mitchell-Samura; and the New Jersey Orators Executive Board


Congress of the United States

Washington, DC 20515— 3012

Dear Ms. Samuels,

1 am writing to congratulate New Jersey Orators on its 38th Anniversary The New Jersey Orators have made outstanding contributions to the 12th Congressional District and the state of New Jersey. 1 want to thank the organization and all its members for the long lasting commitment to educating youth on public speaking, literature, and life skills.

Since its 1985 establishment. New Jersey Orators have grown to 21 chapters throughout New Jersey. For 30+ years, the organization has provided students with endless college, career and life opportunities The pure dedication from the founders and Orators' coaches is most admirable The organization is vital for the success of the next generation and nourishment for our country.

1 am proud the New Jersey Orator continues to provide resources for public speaking, leadership, and life skills. I hope the organization takes pride in this momentous occasion. Please accept my sincere congratulations on the 38th anniversary. Congratulations and God Bless.


BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN 12th District New Jersey 2442 Rayburn House Office Building Washington , DC 20515 (202)225-5801 HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY
DISTRICT OFFICE: 850 Bear Tavern Road , Suite 201 Ewing . New Jersey 08628 (609) 883-0026
House of Representatives



Invocation Rev. Barbara Pritchett

Welcome & Introduction of the Host Eloise Samuels, Founder & CEO

Lift Every Voice and Sing Zayna Allen, Host

Acknowledgements & Proclamation Zayna Allen, Host

Introduction of Orators & Program Zayna Allen, Host

Oratorical Presentation Jasmine Mallette Somerset Chapter

Testimonial Video

Orator Presentation – Oral History Project Demiladeiye Osinubi

New Brunswick Chapter

Keynote Speaker Dr. Daniel Jean

Associate Provost for Special Programs, EOF and Academic Success Montclair University


Violin Rendition Laticia Lewis

National Renowned Violinist

Introduction of Documentary Video Alani Clark

Willingboro-Burlington Chapter

Graduating Senior Scholarship Zayna Allen, Host

Community Service Awards Zayna Allen, Host

Chapter of the Year Award Announcement

Kanika Griffin Competition Chair

Eloise Samuels

Raffle Zayna Allen, Host Kaleb Porter

Plainfield Chapter (assisted by)

Sponsors & Donors Recognition

Benediction Rev. Dr. Forest Pritchett Director, Africana Studies

Seton Hall University


She is an Alumna Orator member of our Plainfield Chapter . Zayna was a member of the Plainfield Chapter for over 8 years before graduating in 2013 from .

Today , she is a successful journalist and a freelance on -air personality host , model , and public speaker . 1 n 2019 , she produced and hosted her own morning talk show entitled “Tea Time with Zayna”.

Zayna Allen is a graduate of Delaware State University There , she got her bachelors degree in mass communications and started her career in broadcasting . It began with co - producing pop culture based shows on campus . She is now a freelance on - air and personality host , model , and public speaker , with dreams to become a news correspondent for an entertainment television network such as MTV , BET , VH 1 , etc as well as starting her own production company where she can give young women of color , positions in media.

She currently works as a production assistant at Bold TV . She is also the production manager for media outlet , Social Push Club , is a correspondent for Black Girls in Media , and has her own morning show , " Tea Time with Zayna " The Brand , on All Jersey Radio online radio station . She is also a production assistant intern at Bold TV. She is an online producer for 21 Ninety . 21 Ninety is the one place where women of color can come together to learn about new things in beauty, wellness and health.

Zayna is a native of Plainfield, New Jersey


Dr Jean is a proud EOF alumnus who serves as the Assistant Provost of Special Programs at Montclair State University.

This first -gen Haitian immigrant is the founder of PhinisheD /FinishEdD # WhoGotNext , Wordstravel LLC and has presented over 600 seminars including for NACADA , NASPA , NCORE , CRSDE , ACPA , PSE & G , and the McDonalds Corporation

He is a member of the National Speakers Association has also shared his expertise at MIT , University of Maryland Baltimore County , University of Louisiana -Lafayette , Baruch College , the Fashion Institute of Technology , Northwestern University , University of Central Florida , Western Kentucky University , Rutgers University , Meharry Medical College , Clemson University and the Southern Regional Educational Board Institute for Teaching and Mentoring

Dr Jean also serves as a higher ed funding advocate , grant writer , consultant , administrator , lecturer , author , adjunct professor , trainer , doctoral coach and motivational speaker . His retention initiatives have resulted in a 91 9% first -year retention rate and a 61% increase in the four - year graduation rate of a so - called “special admit ” population . He has published three books and has taught undergrad and grad courses in consulting , student development , transformative leadership and hip - hop culture . He is the founder of three statewide college access/awareness conferences and the Richard Wilson/Jason James Mentorship Program

Dr . Jean has received several accolades for his work include citations from the NJ and NY legislature , Educator of the Year Awards from Zeta Phi Beta Incorporated and Uprising Stars LLC , the ACPA Educational Excellence Erica Holloman Award , and the Diversity , Equity and Inclusion Award from the African-American and NJ Chamber of Commerce

He has been featured in Black Enterprise , The Ebony Tower , Diverse : Issues in Higher Education , The Right Stuff Movement and Diversity in Action Magazine . His most recent play “ Til Death Do Us Part?” ran Off-Off-Broadway in NYC to sold out shows He has a goal to deliver 1,000 Swagger Seminars and assist 100,000 scholars earn their degrees before he retires.




Collin Chester Lakewood Chapter

Collin is a very active and committed member in his local community as

well as his church community , the Cathedral International Church in Perth Amboy , NJ He has been a member of the Cathedral International Choir and Youth Usher Ministry for several years . He has participated in various community speaking engagements at the church and at local organizations . As a long - term member of

Rays of Hope, a non-profit community service organization that teaches youth leadership skills, Colin is on the Planning Committee this year.

Colin is a graduating Senior at Howell High School maintaining a 4 .4 GPA or higher while taking Honors and AP classes He is active in extra -curricula activities , like Co -founder & Director of Music ; Head Coder of Video Game Design Club and the Robotics Club as well as a competiting member of the HHS Robotics Club and member of the Marching & Concert Bands.

He is a member of the Lakewood Chapter of the New Jersey Orators. As an Orator, Colin has spoken at various youth events at the Cathedral his community

In the fall, Colin has several choices of colleges but will be attending New Jersey Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science/Cybersecurity.

Newark IChapter Tre`Mir Winstead-Lynn

Tre ` Mir has been actively involvedhas been an active member of his Newark community

volunteering at the local food bank and collecting food and other personal items for community giveaways through his church , St Luke AME Church He is an active member of the Junior Usher Board and the Young People ’s Choir at St. Luke AME Church . He is also involved in two mentorship programs . One is the Order of the Knights of Pythagoras of NJ , a mentoring organization sponsored by Prince Hall Masons , Inc . The other is the Dr . Ernest J . Everett Mentorship Program for boys sponsored by the Eta Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity , Inc .

A graduating Senior at Newark Collegiate Academy , Tre ` Mir earned a Magna Cum Laude 3 .7 GPA He served in the Student Government as Senate Minority Leader He makes us proud by using his oratorical skills as the Founder and Editor-in-Chief /The Spokesman of the Panther News Broadcast at Newark Collegiate Academy . He is also the Founder of Gadz and Gizmoz Gaming Club and the TrE-NDING Money Marketing Club at his Academy

Having joined Newark Chapter I of New Jersey Orators when he was 8 years . He moved to Newark Chapter II at the New Horizon Community Charter School when he was 9 and stayed until a changeover of the board when h rejoined Newark Chapter I Tre `Mir has continued as a dedicated member of the Orators honing his oratorical skills . His dedication has paid off because he has received Honors and Excellent from judges at competition for his presentations.

Tre`Mir plans to attend the University of the Arts in Philadelphia , PA in the fall majoring in Game Art & Game Design.


C New Brunswick hapter

Demiladeiye Osinubi

Demiladeiye Osinubi called “ Demi ”, is a very active and dedicated member of his Nigerian community as well as the community where he lives He is the Founder of “ Lift Your Voice Academy ”, a nonprofit public speaking organization that teaches children of Nigerian immigrants how to master public speaking . Demi has mentored Middle School debaters at Cedar Hill Prep School to help them prepare for their competitions to win the Garden State Debate League Championship in April 2022.

A graduating Senior from Rutgers Preparatory School with a 4 .0 GPA , Demi has been appointed by the Vice Principal to be Rutgers ’ Preparatory School Senior Prefect . He also is a member of New Jersey Boys State Delegate when in 2022 he participated in a selective summer program focused on how the New Jersey Government operates . He was elected State Assemblyman . He plays Varsity Soccer and received Skyland Conference Boys Soccer All Star Award recognition.

As a member of the New Jersey Orators New Brunswick Chapter , Demi has been a member since 2014 at age 9 and has regularly participated in chapter meetings and annual competitions Demi has given 32 invited oratory presentations to live audiences and via internet radio broadcasts worldwide . The breadth of his delivered speeches and presentations range widely . As one of four NJO “ Experienced Orator ” designates Demi was selected to participate in our NJO Oral History Project He wrote a compelling narrative about her life and presented it at NJ Council for Humanities Showcase.

In the fall Demi will attend University of Virginia majoring in Economics and Political Science.

PerthAmboy Chapter

Ssanyu Lukoma

Ssanyu is the Founder and Executive Director of her non -profit organization , Brown Kids Read , that motivates children to read books . She is also an author of a children ' s picture book , Suubi ' s Sunny Smile . An active member of the Cathedral International Church in Perth Amboy , Ssanyu is President of the Cathedral International Teen Ministry member of the Teen Choir and Teen Leader for the Cathedral International Dance Ministry Ssanyu is a member of Rays of Hope , Inc , a youth -led non –profit and a Junior Broadcaster with KIDZ HuB Media Network.

As a graduating Senior from the Homeschooled /Sacred HEART Academy Co -op , Ssanyu is active in extra -curriculum varsity basketball activities while maintaining a 3.93 GPA . She utilized her oratorical and leadership skills when participating in the Ms. HBCU Contest to win the crown of Ms. HBCU.

She has been a member of the Perth Amboy Chapter of the New Jersey Orators since 2015 As an New Jersey Orator , Ssanyu has spoken at numerous community speaking engagements at the church and at local organizations . She has demonstrated her oratorical skills at annual Martin Luther King Day and Juneteenth poetry presentations as well as participating at annual NJO competitions garnering her medals of excellence.

In the fall , Ssanyu will be attending Howard University and will be majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Minoring in Political Science


Community Service Awards

Community Service Awards

Tfive years . A year ago Thomas also mentored a summer intern for the Orators teaching him valuable skills that he can use later in his career.

He was recently promoted to Executive Director Payments Technology for J.P Morgan. Before that he was the Vice President of User Experience Designer for 7 years.

homas Lukoma has been providing web maintenance support for the Orators ’ website for close to Thomas is a proud father of two daughters and one son who are members of the New Jersey Orators Perth Amboy Chapter. He is an active member of his Cathedral International Church community as a Deacon and mentor for boys in the church.

He has a BA in Film Animation from Harvard.

currently resdes Old Bridge, NJ with his wife, Leslie and three children, Ssanyu, Neo and Endasi.

Ph.D of the Plainfield Chapter initially as a parent and then volunteered to be trained to become an Assistant Coach in 2020 . He has continued to support the organization in a marketing role by writing articles on social media and for submitting articles to the local eNewspapers.

Walter Young , Jr . Ph . D has been an active member

Walter is a proud father of two college age children who are very caring and very successful individuals and are both Plainfield Chapter alumni . Walter III is studying to become a pilot and Chelsea , who was our 2022 Orator of the Year , is studying law . He always says his blessing is his wife . His professional teaching career culminated in 2021 when the " Office of the Dean of the School of Education and Public Service Leadership conferred upon me my Ph .D . and the title / designation Dr. Young" .

Walter currently resides in Plainfield, NJ with his wife, Majorie and son Walter III and Chelsea.

Thomas Lukoma

New Jersey Orators, Inc. thanks the following corporations and foundations for providing us grants, and for their continued support for the 2022 – 2023 Fiscal Year

New Jersey Council for the Humanities

$15,000 for Chapter Expansion & Literacy

Ohnell Foundation

$5,000 Program Costs

Fred Brotherton Foundation

$4,300 Literacy Workshops

Plainfield Foundation

$2,500 Program Costs

Plainfield Grassrooots CDC

$1,500 Program Costs

Thanks to our grantors for supporting our organization’s programs


We express our heartfelt thanks to the following Partners:

Essex County Prosecutors Office

Seton Hall University –Provost Office

Nu Xi Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

National Organization for Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)

African American Chamber of Commerce - NJ

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Scholastic Reading Counts

Reach Out And Read Barnes & Noble

Congratulations and Best Wishes New Jersey Orators 38th Anniversary Luncheon Celebration From the Franklin Township Council Members Phillip Kramer, Mayor Kimberly Francois, Council At-Large Crystal Pruitt, Council At- Large Ed Potosnak, Council Ward 1 , Shepa Uddin, Council Ward 2 Charles Onyejiaka, Council Ward 3 Carl R.A.Wright, Council Ward 4 James Vassenella, Council Ward 5 Driving Your Vision Through Scholarship! Franklin  Township A Proud Somerset County Community TOWNSHIP COUNCIL Municipal Building 475 DeMott Lane Somerset, NJ 08873-6704 Phone: 732-873-2500 Fax: 732-873-1595 Sivaraman Anbarasan, Deputy Mayor 18


“Do you know what today is? It’s our Anniversary! It’s our Anniversary!”

Tony, Toni, Tone

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.”

Barack Obama

“If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.”

Dan Rather

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

Booker T. Washington



In 1987, Lanetta Lyons, a Co-founder of the New Jersey Orators, wrote The Orator as the official credo of the organization. The Orator is published in the anthology, Windows on the Soul.

Through speaking, I tell others who I am.

I know that mastery of the language equips me to express the uniqueness that is me. With practice and experimentation, I learn how to communicate my thoughts in different ways. As I grow, I shall strive to increase my knowledge of great writings, speakers, and the music of the words within me.

I shall cultivate a good vocabulary to better communicate my ideas, rather than for impressing others.

I shall strive to understand the complexities of the language, so that I may use the written and spoken word effectively. When I speak with enlightenment, rage, sorrow, humor, all will know the power of language and my joy in having spoken well.

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