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Optimist Scholarships

Optimist International sponsors three scholarship contests for students to earn money to pursue opportunities in higher education: the Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH), the Essay Contest and the Oratorical Contest. The contests are conducted at the Club level, then Zone and Regional (if necessary) and at the District level. District-level scholarships are funded by the Optimist International Foundations and awarded by Optimist International.

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Oratorical Championship

The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives students 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 a first place scholarship of $2,500, a second place scholarship of $1,500, and a third place scholarship of $1,000.

Zone 1 Contest 4/15 11:00 AM

Zone 2 Contest 4/15 11:00 AM

Zone 3 Contest 4/1 11:30 AM

District Contest 5/6 9:00 AM

See District and Zone Info for details.

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Essay Contest

The Essay Contest is sponsored by Optimist International to give young people the opportunity to write about their own opinions regarding the world in which they live. The approach can encompass a young person’s personal experience, the experience of their country or a more historical perspective. In additional to developing skills for written expression, participants also have the opportunity to win a college scholarship!

Club winners advance to the District contest to compete for a $2,500 college scholarship. The District-level scholarships are funded by the Optimist International Foundations.

Essay Contest entries from the club to the District are due by February 28th. The Scholarship Chair is Elisa Thompson. Essays along with required paperwork may be emailed to ethompson@york.k12.sc.us or mailed Elisa Thompson, York Intermediate School, 1280 Johnson Road, York, SC 29745

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Communication Contest for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

This contest offers an opportunity for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to present their thoughts in the community, gaining skills, which can only come from signing or speaking to a large audience. Patterned after the Optimist Oratorical Contest, the Communication Contest For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing offers hearing impaired youth the chance to compete in speech or sign language. The Optimist International Foundations fund a $2,500 scholarship to any District that meets the minimum participation criteria.

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