Optimist International Oratorical Contest 2021-22

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.

Both the Forsyth-Cumming Optimist Club and the Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club work together to coordinate the Oratorical contest since the number of students who participate in Forsyth County are as many as 5,500 to 6,000.

Elementary School (5th grade) Contest

Elementary schools incorporate the Oratorical Contest into their curriculum. Speeches must be less than three minutes long.
There are two contests in each club for the 5th graders, one is a semifinal and the other is a final.
A 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner is chosen by both clubs.

Middle/High School Contest

Speeches must be between four and five minutes long.
Each club holds a semi-final. The club winners join together for the finals where each club is represented by two winners.
Middle/High School winners have the opportunity to continue on to Zone, Area and District competitions.
Club winners receive a plaque and $500.
District winners: 1st place winner receives a plaque and a $2500 scholarship, 2nd place winner receives a $1500 scholarship, and 3rd place winner receives a $1000 scholarship.
Region winners receive a $5000 scholarship.
World Championship winner receives a $15000 scholarship.


The Oratorical Contest is open to students under the age of 19 of the current contest year (October 1 – September 30) who are not enrolled as a degree seeking student of a post-secondary institution.
Students must be educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean.

How to Enter

Students interested in the Oratorical Contest must speak with the English teacher in charge of the contest for their school. Teachers will work with the students to create speeches and guide them through the process.


The topic for the 2021-2022 School Year is: “Staying Optimistic in Challenging Times”.


Please view the Oratorical application for complete rules.

Previous School Winners

Students from all over North America will advance to compete with international students at the World Championship to be held July 21-23, 2021 at Saint Louis University or via Zoom depending on the status of the Covid-19 Virus.


Left to right: Oratorical Chair Josh Kellem- Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club; Ananya Uday – South Forsyth High School Winner; Samiksha Gaherwar – Lambert High School Winner; Nidhi Reddy – Alliance High School Alternate; Chloe Goulding – Little Mill Middle School Finalist; Kimaya Kanda – Piney Grove Middle School Finalist; Oratorical Chair Joyce Mullins – Forsyth-Cumming Optimist Club; Juliana Smith – Sharon Elementary School 2nd Place; Veer Singh – Brandywine Elementary School 1st Place. Not pictured – Jennifer Dunne – North Forsyth High School Winner


2021 Elementary School Winners

2nd Runner Up: Lana Francesconi, Johns Creek Elementary

1st Runner Up: Juliana Smith, Sharon Elementary

Winner: Veer Singh, Brandywine Elementary


2021 Middle/High School Winners representing our club in the Zone contest:

Jennifer Dunne- North Forsyth High School, and Samiksha Gaherwar – Lambert High School.

For more information, please contact us.