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 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.
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.
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. ... sign up for full scholarship deadline information.