Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Award Amount
Application deadline
Awarded By:

Optimist International

Number of Awards & Eligibility: The number of awards offered varies annually. Each club awards one scholarship, and each district awards one to two scholarships (there are 53 districts; not all districts participate every year). The number of clubs offering scholarships/cash prizes changes each year; on average, 300 clubs participate.
In order to qualify, students must meet the following criteria:
  1. This award is for international and U.S. students.
  2. Must be a resident of the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean.
  3. Must have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more.
  4. Must be in grade 12 or below in the United States or Canada, in CEGEP or below in Quebec, or in grade 13 and below in the Caribbean.

In order to qualify, students must meet the following criteria:

Description: Students who are in grade 12 and below in the United States, in CEGEP or below in Quebec, Canada, or in grade 13 or below in the Caribbean are eligible to enter this speech/sign language contest. Students must have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more to qualify.

Application requirements for the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are:

  • Application form
  • Audiogram
Additional Information: Students do not need to be members of an Optimist Club to participate in this contest. However, they must be sponsored by a local Optimist Club to participate. For information on how to contact an Optimist Club, students should visit the Optimist Club International website or contact Optimist Club International through the contact information provided. This contest offers an opportunity for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to present their thoughts in the community, gaining skills which can only come from signing or speaking to a large audience. Students make a four to five minute presentation on a pre-assigned topic. This year's topic is “How My Best Brings Out the Best in Others”. The presentations are judged at the club level and the district level. Some districts, due to participation levels, conduct a single district contest without club level contests preceding the event. Students may use sign language or an oral presentation or a combination of both to compete. Both styles are judged using the same criteria.

Award Amount: The club level award is a plaque and a monetary award of up to $500. Each individual club can decide what form the award will take (e.g. scholarship, savings bond, cash prize). *Please note: Not all clubs give monetary awards; it is up to the individual club as to what type of award they give winners. The district finalist and winner each receive a plaque, and a $2,500 scholarship is awarded to the district winner.  The total dollars awarded for this scholarship is $1,500.

Deadline Information:

Deadline for this scholarship is Saturday, June 15

Deadline Information:

Deadline for this scholarship is Saturday, June 15

Applications to enter the contest are available on the Optimist Club International website. With the application, students must submit an audiogram done within 24 months of the date of the contest. *Please note: An applicant may not apply directly to Optimist Club International for this contest; he/she must apply through a local club. All districts do not participate in this contest, so the student should check with his/her local club before applying. To find out the contact in his/her area, the applicant should email the programs department using the email address provided.The deadline for individual clubs is set by their district. The deadline for districts to submit their winners to Optimist International is June 15.
About Optimist International:
Contact Information: Danielle Baugher, Program Coordinator
Address: 4494 Lindell Blvd. St. Louis, Missouri 63108

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