Topic for the 2016-2017 School Year is: “What the World Gains from Optimism.”

Who: Students under the age of 18 as of October 1, 2016.

How To Enter: Interested students submit a speech on the pre-assigned topic to their local Optimist Club. To find out the contact in your area, please e-mail the Programs Department at programs@optimist.org.

When: TBD


The deadline to enter is determined by the sponsoring Optimist Club. All Club-level contests are typically held by late March.


The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives youngsters the chance to speak to the world. More than $150,000 in college scholarships funded by the Optimist International Foundations is awarded annually from this program.

First conducted in 1928, this is the second most popular Optimist International Program. Nearly 2,000 clubs participate in this program each year. The winners at the Club level receive medallions and Zone winners receive a plaque. Districts have the opportunity to provide 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.