The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives youngsters the chance to speak to the
world. More than $150,000 are awarded annually in scholarships
The winners at the club level receive medallions and zone winners receive a
plaque. Districts have the opportunity to provide two $1,500 scholarships or a
first place scholarship of $1,500, a second place scholarship of $1,000, and a
third place scholarship of $500.
Nearly 2,000 clubs participate in this program each year.
"Why Me? Why Not?." What a great topic for this year's Oratorical contest! We hope to reach a record amount of schools to
participate this year.
Now is the time to get started. Begin making your contact as soon as possible
so we can BRING OUT THE BEST IN KIDS.
2009 Topic: "For Me, Optimism is..."
When: District deadline June 15, 2009. Club winners should be turned in to Lt.
Gov. by March 31. Zone contests should be in early April. Deadline for
submitting to the Regional is April 15.
District deadline to OI is June 15.
Who: Young people who have not attained the age of 16 years prior to or
on January 1 of the current school year and are educated in the United States,
Canada or the Caribbean.
How to Enter: Interested students submit a speech on the pre-assigned
topic to their local Optimist Club
Number of Contestants: Each club must have no less than six(6) and
no more than twenty(20) contestants. In Tennessee, each club will have a
girls' contest and a boys' contest so in order to hold an oratorical contest,
you must first have at least three(3) girl contestants and three(3) boy
contestants and no more than ten(10) girl contestants and ten(10) boy
Past Oratorical Contest Winners
Judges: You will need three judges and one back-up judge.
Cost: The District will provide one nights lodging for contestants.
Clubs participating will be responsible for any other expenses, meals,
Rules & Application
To Do List for Contest Chair
(1) Obtain four (4) judges (three judges and one backup).
(2) Order two (2) sets of first, second and third place medallions.
(3) Set aside time before contest to meet with judges to go
over contest and scoring rules.
(4) Send out letter to all schools in your area with applications.
Require that applications be turned in
(14) days before the contest. The type-written speeches
may be submitted the day of the contest.
(5) Appoint a timekeeper – can be a club member.
(6) Have a stop watch for the timekeeper.
(7) Present timekeeper with a copy of each contestant’s
speech in the order in which contestants will be speaking.
(8) Prior to starting contest go over the rules with the
(9) Appoint an auditor to review score sheets.
(10) Make sure that judges score independently and collect
judges score sheets and review the same with
and determine the winners.
(11) After contest, allow judges to give their feedback. If
judges consent, you may want to allow the
have a copy of each judges’ evaluation form.
(12) After contest, have the boy and girl contest winner sign
and complete application for Zone Contest.
(13) Within twenty-four (24) hours of contest, submit the
completed applications for Zone Contest; the winners’
birth certificates and copies of their speeches to your
Zone’s Lt. Governor.
- The Optimist International Program Guide was mailed to the President-Designate listed on you Club Officer Elect Report.
- The OI website has information available at www.optimist.org
and application forms and posters are available from Shumpsky at www.optimiststuff.com.
- The program
club planning guide,
district planning guide
and website contains information
on Eligibility, Topic, Length, Prizes, Deadlines, Criteria for Judges, Judging
the Essays, Getting the Contest Started in your Community, Official Rules, Rules
for Conducting the Contest, and an Application.
- Press Releases
Club news release before the event (pdf)
Club news release after the event
(pdf) or (doc)
District news release after the event with 1st, 2nd & 3rd winners (pdf)
District news release after the event with two 1st place winners (pdf)