Oratorical Contest - 2019-2020 School Year

The 2019-2020 Contest Is Closed. Check back this fall for the 2020-2021 Event. 


The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives youngsters the chance to speak to the world.Beginning in 1928, the Oratorical Contest has become the longest-running program of Optimist International. The contest is designed for young people to gain experience in public speaking and provide them with an opportunity to compete for multiple college scholarships with a pre-assigned topic.

More than $150,000 in college scholarships funded by the Optimist International Foundations is awarded annually from this program. Nearly 2,000 clubs participate in this program each year.

The 2019-2020  theme is "Just iMagine a World without Boundaries”

The contest is open to contestants under the age of 19 as of October 1 of the current Optimist International contest year (October 1 – September 30) and is not enrolled as a degree seeking student of a post-secondary institution. Districts and Clubs will hold combined gender contests.

Entry due to the club by March 15th, 2020

Zone Contest (if required) by early April 2020

District Contest late April 2020

The St. Paul Optimist Club winners qualify to compete for the District Oratorical Scholarships. District Oratorical scholarships awards are awarded for First Place: $2500 Second Place: $1500 Third Place: $1000

District Winners can advance to Regional, and  there will be a World Championship Contest.  One winner can win up to $22,500 or more in scholarships.

General contest information from Optimist International can be found here: http://www.optimist.org/e/member/scholarships4.cfm

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