Optimist International Oratorical Contest Scholarships, USA 2021-2022

Application for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest Scholarships, USA 2021-2022 is ongoing!

The Topic for this contest is “Staying Optimistic in Challenging Times”

To participate in this contest, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. We have heightened the minimum requirement for this contest, how to apply, and the application deadline. Read through to gain the most!

About Optimist International Oratorical Contest Scholarships

Since its start in 1928, the Optimist Oratorical Contest has become the longest-running program sponsored by Optimist International.

This contest is specifically designed for youth to gain experience in public speaking, perfect self-expression, gain self-assurance, improve communication skills, and provide them with the opportunity to compete for a college scholarship.


The Optimist Oratorical Scholarships are funded by member donations to the Optimist International Foundation and Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation.

It is important that all Members understand the significance of supporting the Foundations in order to continue the funding for the contest.

Please make sure to recognize the Foundations and any member that donates funds to the scholarships. Without them, there are no scholarships!

Club Contests

Only two qualified contestants will represent the Club at the District level. All Club submissions will be run through a plagiarism checker before being forwarded to the next level.

District Contests

Each winner of the District level contest will receive a scholarship for use at a college, university, or trade school only.

There will be three winners awarded scholarships of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000 respectively for first, second, and third place.

The World Championship Oratorical Contest

Districts may enter one contestant into the World Regional and World Championship Contests schedule to hold July 20-22, 2022 at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Please encourage your District Clubs and Members to help fund your District.

Winner and chaperone to attend the Optimist International World Championships.

Every District winner is strongly encouraged to compete at the World Oratorical Championships in person at the designated locations.

How to Apply for Optimist International Oratorical Contest Scholarships

  • Interested youth should prepare a 4 to 5 minute speech
    on the assigned topic to be presented at their local Optimist Club’s contest.
  • The speeches are judged at the Club level, Zone level, District Regional level (if needed), and then at the District level prior to the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships.
  • Clubs and Districts may choose to allow contestants to compete via online streaming.

Eligibility Criteria for Optimist International Oratorical Contest Scholarships

The contest is open to contestants under the age of 19 as of October 1st of the current Optimist International contest year (October 1 – September 30) and who have not yet completed secondary school or its equivalent, including CEGEP students in Québec, Canada. There is no minimum age.

Minimum Number of Participants

There is no minimum required a number of participants for Club Contests. Zone, Regional and District Contests must have no fewer than three participants.

In cases where the minimum number of three contestants at the Zone or District Regional contest cannot be met, there are two options:

  • A. Send winners directly to the next level of the contest.
  • B. Combine Zone or District Regional level contests.

Optimist International Oratorical Contest Scholarships Deadlines

Club contest dates are set by the Club Chair, once the Zone and District dates have been obtained.

Zone contest dates are set by the District Oratorical Chair with The District Oratorical Contest Chair is responsible for all phases of the Oratorical Contests in the District.

All District competitions must be conducted by Optimists only, and this responsibility must not be delegated to outside groups.

Apply Here

Frequently Asked Questions on Optimist International Oratorical Contest Scholarships

20th to 22nd July 2022

This contest is open to contestants under the age of 19 as of October 1st

Visit www.optimist.org and fill the form.







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