March 1, 2014

Students on stage for Optimist International Scholarship Contests

It is scholarship season for Optimist Clubs. The Optimist International Essay Contest has just ended and now the focus turns to public speaking as students are asked to complete a five-minute speech on "How my passions impact the world" for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest and Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH).

In Danville, Virginia, Optimist Club president Ken Boyer went to the local paper promote the club level contest. He said, “As they prepare for their future, many of our local students need experience expressing their thoughts and opinions to an audience. The oratorical contest challenges them to do just that and also offers an opportunity for scholarships. In this way, our club hopes to bring out the best in each of them and help them achieve their goals for the future."

Indeed, communication has never before had center stage as it does today. With social media, we put our thoughts out for others to see daily via blogs and microblogs like Facebook, Twitter, and others. It is critical that our young people learn and practice formal research, writing and speech to complement their informal prowess.

All Optimist International scholarship contests begin at the club level. Winners advance from the club to zone, regional and district finals where they are ultimately awarded a $2,500 scholarship. One of the most exciting things about the program is there is no minimum age. Students can start competing as early as they want up until 19 years. Over the years, past participants have said that the process of preparing and presenting at each level and meeting new friends and audiences was as much fun as winning. Of course all could use an extra $2,500 for college, but it's rewarding to know that the experience is valuable.

Click to find out more about the Optimist International scholarship programs.

Click to find an Optimist Club near you.

Click to see photos of Optimist Club scholarship winners and program participants.

Photo credit: Prior Lake Optimist Club

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