Optimist International Oratorical Contest

Award Amount
Application deadline
Awarded By:

Optimist International

Number of Awards & Eligibility: The number of awards vary depending on how many districts participate. Last year, 53 awards were given.
In order to qualify, students must meet the following criteria:
  1. This award is for international and U.S. students.
  2. Must be under the age of 18 as of Dec. 31 of the current school year. The student must not have yet graduated high school at time of application. There is no minimum age.
  3. Must be educated at the high school level in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean.

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

Description: Students who are under the age of 16 as of Dec. 31 of the current school year and are educated in the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean are eligible to enter this contest. Students do not have to be members of an Optimist Club to enter; however, they must be sponsored by a local club.

Application requirements for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest are:

  • Application form
  • Written speech
Additional Information: The speech contest is designed to inspire today's youth to motivate and inform others through the art of public speaking. It provides young people with the opportunity to compete for a college scholarship and express their views on a pre-assigned topic. A contestant is eligible to enter/compete in only one Optimist Club Oratorical Contest during a contest year (Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 of the next year). Also, any contestant who has won an Optimist International Oratorical scholarship award is ineligible for any future competition. A local club may be represented in the next stage of competition by only two qualified contestants.

Award Amount: Each district will award either: two $2,500 scholarships or a first-place scholarship of $2,500, a second-place scholarship of $1,500, and a third-place scholarship of $1,000. All awards are non-renewable.  The total dollars awarded for this scholarship is $2,000.

Deadline Information:

Deadline for this scholarship is Wednesday, May 15

Deadline Information:

Deadline for this scholarship is Wednesday, May 15

The student enters the contest by submitting a speech on the current year's topic to his/her local Optimist Club. If the student does not know his/her local contact, he/she can email Optimist International at the address provided. *Please note: Students MUST enter through a local Optimist Club. Students do not have to be members of the club to enter; they simply must be be sponsored by a local club. Speeches must be four to five minutes in length. Each contestant entered in the zone- or district-level contest must present one typewritten copy of the speech, double-spaced and identified with contestant's name and sponsoring Optimist Club. This copy must be attached to the official entry form along with contestant's birth record before competing in the contest. The contestant must sign the entry form. The deadline date listed is the district deadline for submitting winners to Optimist International. Optimist International does not set club/zone/regional deadlines. Contest entry at the local level generally ends in late March.
About Optimist International:
Contact Information: Danielle Baugher, Program Coordinator
Address: 4494 Lindell Blvd. St. Louis, Missouri 63108

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