Optimist Oratorical Essay Contest To Win

This contest sponsored by Optimist International each year presents young people with the opportunity to write about their opinions regarding the world in which they live. Entrants must be under the age of 19, not yet have graduated from high school or the equivalent before the end of the school year, and must be educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean.  Entrants write a 700–800 word essay expressing their views on the assigned topic.

In addition to the opportunity to enhance written communication skills, participants have the chance to win a scholarship toward advanced education.

Topic for 2017–2018: Can Society Function Without Respect?

The deadline for entries to be received by the club is Jan. 22, 2018.

For more information, contact Sue Cavanaugh (410-561-3048).

Registration form for the 2017-2018 Essay contest

Contest for 2016–2017

Topic:  “Chasing Optimism in the Face of Challenges”
Club recognition:  Three finalists were honored at the Timonium Optimist dinner on Mar. 6, 2017.
These winners read their essays for the assembly, and awards were announced.

Winners for 2016–2017

First place:  Anna Griffith / Anna took 3rd place in the District contest
School represented: Dulaney High

Second place: Megan Zhang
School represented: Dulaney High

Third place: James Elmore
School represented: Calvert Hall



Club level:

  1. Medallion (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
  2. Gift card (1st-$75/ 2nd-$50/ 3rd-$25)
  3. Advancement of the fist place essay to the district contest

District level:

  1. Engraved plaque
  2. $2,500 college scholarship
  3. Advancement to the international contest

International level:

  1. Engraved first-place plaque
  2. Recognition in The Optimist magazine

Timonium Winners Have Taken Top OI Essay Prize

  1. 2004–2005:  Rae Borsetti from Towson High School on the topic “The Power of One”
  2. 1986–1987:  Allison Gillespie from Dulaney High School

Both of the club’s international winners were students of the same English teacher, Mr. William Jones.

More info »

March 16, 2015  

The Shelby Optimist Club concluded their participation in this year's Optimist International's annual essay contest, with the reading of the top three essays, at a luncheon meeting, March 6, at the Senior Center in Shelby.

The winner of this year's contest was Jennifer Allen of Crest High School, who was awarded $200 and a gold medallion. Second place went to Michael Rehnberg, Shelby High, who was awarded $100 and a silver; and third place went to Bailey Cantrell, Burns High, who was awarded $50 and a bronze medallion.

Entries in this year's contest came from Burns, Crest and Shelby. The contest was open to students under the age of 19, as of Dec. 31, 2014.

There was a blind judging, using only numbers for the essays. Judges were Jackie Bridges, senior reporter; Alan Ford, sports editor; and Joyce Orlando, public safety reporter; all from The Star .

The subject of this year's essay was "Optimism Should be a Priority."

Allen's essay will be sent to the Western District of North Carolina competition, where the winner will be presented with a plaque and a $2,500 scholarship.

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