2017-2018 Oratorical Contest
Topic: “Where Are My Roots of Optimism”
This 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. There is no occupation of consequence that does not require the skill of public speaking. More than $150,000 in college scholarships is awarded annually through this program.
How to Enter: Interested students should prepare a 4 to 5 minute speech on the pre-assigned topic above to be presented at their local Optimist Club's contest. The speeches are judged at the Club level, Zone level, and then at the District level. Normally two club winners will proceed to the Zone level, and two Zone winners go to the District level.
Applications, official rules and a program guide are available from the Optimist International website www.optimist.org. The program guide contains full instructions and planning materials for organizing and conducting your Club's Oratorical Contest. For a copy of the application and official rules, to: http://www.optimist.org/Form/Oratorical_RULES_PAD-E_17_18.pdf For a copy of the Club Oratorical Contest planning guide, including a copy of the entry application and official rules, go to:
Boys and girls who are under the age of 19 and who have not yet graduated from high school will compete together in a combined gender contest.See the official contest rules for additional eligibility requirements.
Topic: For the 2017-2018 contest, the topic is “Where Are My Roots of Optimism”
Length of Speech:The speech must be at least 4 minutes but not over 5 minutes in length.
Scholarship Amounts: Three scholarships are awarded at the district level $2500 (1st place); $1500 (2nd place); and $1000 (3rd place). Clubs are allowed to give monetary awards of up to $500 per winner for the contest.
This may be in the form of a scholarship, a savings bond or a cash prize.
Key Dates: The names of the zone oratorical contest winners must be provided to the District contest chair by Friday, April 21, 2017. See your Lieutenant Governor to find out when your Zone contest will be held.
Important: By April 27, 2018. The following three documents must be provided to the District contest Chair:
1. Zone/Regional/District Entry Form
2. Copy of the applicant's proof of age (birth certificate or passport)
3. A typed, double-spaced copy of the speech.
The District Oratorical Contest will be held on May 12, 2018 at the 3rd quarter District meeting.
Some Hints of finding Oratorical Candidates
1. Start Early! Most public, private, and charter schools set their curriculums and select their educational projects over the summer or early in the first part of the academic year. This makes it important for clubs to make these contests known to the faculty and staff at or before this time. Note that the Optimist Oratorical Contest is recommended by both the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the American Association of School Administrators. This endorsement can go a long way when your Club is requesting that principals and teachers offer this program to their students.
2. Contacts for each of the North Carolina public schools, charter schools, or private schools can be easily found by doing a search (Google, Bing, Yahoo search, or whatever you use on your computer). For example: search NC Public Schools, NC Charter Schools, or NC Private Schools. Or you can search more locally by typing in something like Wake County, NC Public Schools (or your Local County or city) into your search engine. The directory for North Carolina public schools is located at: www.ncpublicschools.org/nceddirectory. Some Clubs have even given information and applications to local churches to share in their Sunday school classes and youth organizations.
3. Many clubs have had success in getting contest candidates through their home school organizations. Because the families who home school their children are usually more flexible in their curriculums, they are often open to trying something new. Their website is located at: www.nche.com and there are many local home school sites.
4. News releases are a good way to announce your upcoming contest and to recognize the winners (and publicize your Club's efforts) after the contest. A variety of sample news releases are available on the O.I. website. All you have to do is fill in the blanks! Newspaper releases can be found at the following location: www.optimist.org/e/member/marketing3.cfm.
5. You can inform the public of the availability of the contest through a public service announcement (PSA) on your local community radio station. A 30-second PSA on the Oratorical Contest can be downloaded from the O.I. website and delivered to the station. The Oratorical Contest PSA can be downloaded from this site: www.optimist.org/e/member/marketing4.cfm.
6. For Club and Zone Contests be sure to order medallions and certificates of participation from Optimist Supply (www.optimistsupply.com). Since you will have two representatives from your club advance to the Zone contest, level it is recommended that two gold medals be awarded at the local club. Also, it is suggested that you order a silver and bronze medal for the next highest finishers. Therefore, the advancing contestants will be identified only as the gold medal winners and not identified as first and second place. This also applies to Zone Contests from which two contestants will advance to the District Oratorical Contest.
For more information, contact your District Oratorical Contest Chair:
600 Tiffany Blvd. Suite E
Rocky Mount, NC 27803
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