DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On Monday, the public will get its first look at the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C.  The monument to Dr. King will be the first on the National Mall to honor an African American and a non-president.

One North Texas teen will be a part of the pre-dedication celebration and he’s planning to pay special tribute to his hero.

“A man lives on as long as his words are floating in the air,” Dallasite Dalton Sherman recited.

Friday Sherman prepared for what could be the biggest speech of his life… all 13 years of it!

“I was… I don’t even know how to express it!” the 8th-grader said excitedly, recalling when he received the invitation to Washington, D.C.

Sherman is heading to the nation’s capitol to represent a non-profit foundation that supports character development in teens.

As part of the celebration surrounding the unveiling of the MLK Monument, Sherman will deliver his award winning speech.

Three years ago he explained to CBS 11 News, “My teacher asked me, ‘since you talk a lot — go ahead, go on and do this [speech] for me’, and I’d do anything for her. So, I did it and turned out winning.”
Sherman won the Gardere MLK Oratory Competition and unknowingly launched a career.

The response to the speech was overwhelming and the video went viral. Now, after appearances on Oprah and speaking all over the world Sherman’s next challenge will be to speak in honor of his hero.

They will be words he says, still resonate. “Especially when he [Dr. King] talks about how he wishes his kids could grow up in an equal society, where no one would judge them by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” the teenager said. “And that’s to everyone; but it still means something.”

Dalton insists there are other good kids out there, but adults have to get past the stereotypes. “What do young people need from us?” asked CBS 11 Reporter Robbie Owens. Sherman answered, “Support. They need support, ya know. They need someone to be there for them because some of them don’t have that in their homes and all you can do is simply be there.”

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial will be officially dedicated on Sunday, August 28. The ceremony will happen on the 48th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.