Optimist International Oratorical Contest

Topic for the 2021-2022 school year is: “Staying Optimistic in Challenging Times”

Who: Youth under the age of 19 as of October 1, 2021 (and is not enrolled as a degree seeking student of a post-secondary institution) in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean. There is no minimum age.

How To Enter: Interested students submit a speech on the pre-assigned topic to their local Optimist Club. To find out the contact in your area, please e-mail the Programs Department at programs@optimist.org.

Students
The deadline to enter is determined by the sponsoring Optimist Club. All Club-level contests are typically held by late March.

Clubs and Districts
Districts and Clubs may opt to hold an online Oratorical Contest. Click here for more information.



The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives youngsters the chance to speak to the world. More than $150,000 in college scholarships funded by the Optimist International Foundations is awarded annually from this program.

First conducted in 1928, this is the second most popular Optimist International Program. Nearly 2,000 clubs participate in this program each year. The winners at the Club level receive medallions and Zone winners receive a plaque. Districts have the opportunity to provide a first place scholarship of $2,500, a second place scholarship of $1,500, and a third place scholarship of $1,000.

Information for Optimist Members planning the contest:

Club Oratorical Planning Guide

District Oratorical Planning Guide

Guidelines for Oratorical Contest Participants

    Click on the image to download it: EN

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    Click on the image to download it: FR

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    Click on the image to download it: EN

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    Click on the image to download it: FR

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Oratorical Contest Package - A Program Package for the contest is available by
clicking here. Clubs can find useful materials to help them get started with the scholarship contest.

Support merchandise for this program can be ordered through Shumsky for US and Caribbean Clubs and from Ansell's Awards and Specialties for Canadian Clubs. Contact information for both supply companies can be found here.

For additional information, please contact the Optimist International Programs Department by e-mail at programs@optimist.org, or call (800) 500-8130.

Certificates of Participation
If your Club or District is sponsoring a contest, certificates of participation can be presented to all contestants.

Certificate for Club level

Certificate for Zone level

Certificate for District Regional level

Certificate for District level

Publicize the Oratorical Contest
Optimist International has developed a series of news releases that Clubs and Districts can use in connection with their participation in international programs. Below are sample news releases that Clubs and Districts can use to promote the Oratorical Contest. Please note that the .doc version enables users to type their information into fields*, while the .pdf files are for viewing only.

Oratorical Contest - Prior to event (.docx)

Oratorical Contest - After event (.docx)

District Oratorical One Winner - After event (.docx)

2020-21 Oratorical Contest Brochure

*If your Optimist Club or District wishes to use its own letterhead, you can remove the Optimist International logo in the document by opening up the Word document, going to "View," then "Toolbars" and selecting "Forms." When the "Forms" toolbar appears, click on the padlock, then click on the Optimist logo and delete it. For those using Microsoft Office 2007, click on the Microsoft Office button in the upper left corner, go to "Word options" and then select the box next to "Show the Developer tab in the Ribbon" and click "OK." Above the document, click the "Developer" tab and then click on the "Protect Document" drop-down menu. Click on "Restrict Formatting and Editing." At the bottom of the new window to the right, click the "Stop Protection" button.

Optimist International “Kids Speak Out” Club Contests
Optimist International offers Clubs a simple but spectacular way to get younger students involved in public speaking and prepare them for higher level Oratorical competitions. These contests are not backed by dollar awards but encourage students to develop speaking skills and prepare them for future Oratorical contests. Click here for more information on the Optimist International Kids Speak Out Contest and Planning Guide.

Kids Speak Out Scoring Sheet



Oratorical Contest Quick Links

Full 2021 World Oratorical Program
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Having trouble viewing? Click Here.



    Click on each image to download the image file. (PNG)



    Nayana Xavier - Mid-Atlantic Regional Winner $5,000 & 1st Place World Winner $15,000

    (Capital Virginia District) Sponsor Club: 16026 Central Fairfax, VA

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    Julia Abbott - West Coast Regional Winner $5,000 & 2nd Place World Winner $10,000

    (Pacific Southwest District) Sponsor Club: 14654 Pacific Palisades, CA

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    Click on the image to download it



    Corinne Quynh Lan Marie Hoang - St. Lawrence Regional Winner $5,000 & 3rd Place World Winner $5,000

    (Eastern Ontario District) Sponsor Club: 49914 Kanata 2007, ON

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    Lauren Menke - Northeast & Great Lakes Regional Winner $5,000

    (Ohio District) Sponsor Club: 24224 Kettering-Noon, OH

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    Ellen Joseph - Great Plains Regional Winner $5,000

    (Dakota, Manitoba, Minnesota District) Sponsor Club : 35001 Brandon Valley, SD

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    Click on the image to download it



    Sara Abernathy - Southeast Regional Winner $5,000

    (GATEway District) Sponsor Club: 21250 Rome-Noon, GA

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    Click on the image to download it



    Abram Marrett - Southwest & Caribbean Regional Winner $5,000

    (Caribbean District) Sponsor Club: 78458 North St. Andrew, JA

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    Maria “Masha� Yakubovich - Middle America Regional Winner $5,000

    (Kansas District) Sponsor Club: 37155 Wichita-North, KS

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    Eileen Kim - Global Region Regional Winner $5,000

    (South Korea)

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2021 Championship in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd followed by Regional Winners.
  • Nayana Xavier (Capital Virginia District) Mid-Atlantic Regional Winner $5,000 & 1st Place World Winner $15,000 Sponsor Club: 16026 Central Fairfax, VA

  • Julia Abbott (Pacific Southwest District) West Coast Regional Winner $5,000 & 2nd Place World Winner $10,000 Sponsor Club: 14654 Pacific Palisades, CA

  • Corinne Quynh Lan Marie Hoang (Eastern Ontario District) St. Lawrence Regional Winner $5,000 & 3rd Place World Winner $5,000 Sponsor Club: 49914 Kanata 2007, ON

  • Lauren Menke (Ohio District) Northeast & Great Lakes Regional Winner $5,000 Sponsor Club: 24224 Kettering-Noon, OH

  • Ellen Joseph (Dakota, Manitoba, Minnesota District) Great Plains Regional Winner $5,000 Sponsor Club : 35001 Brandon Valley, SD

  • Sara Abernathy (GATEway District) Southeast Regional Winner $5,000 Sponsor Club: 21250 Rome-Noon, GA

  • Abram Marrett (Caribbean District) Southwest & Caribbean Regional Winner $5,000 Sponsor Club: 78458 North St. Andrew, JA

  • Maria Yakubovich (Kansas District) Middle America Regional Winner $5,000 Sponsor Club: 37155 Wichita-North, KS

  • Eileen Kim (South Korea) Global Region Regional Winner $5,000