Optimist International Oratorical Contest


Students from all over North America will advance to compete with international students at the World Championship to be held July 15-17, 2020 at Saint Louis University!  DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS, THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HAS BEEN CANCELLED.  WE ARE HOPING TO FIND A WAY TO FINISH THE CONTEST AT LEAST AS FAR AS THE DISTRICT LEVEL.  Due to the Coronavirus, the World Championship scheduled to be held July 15-17th, 2020 at St. Louis University will be held via Zoom.  

2020 Middle/High School Winners: Shirin Deepak – Denmark HS; Gargi Surange – Lakeside MS; Ashwarya Meyyappan – RiverwatchMS; Samiksha Gaherwar – Lambert HS.

This Oratorical contest is designed to assist youth in gaining public speaking experience and provide them with an opportunity to compete for a scholarship.

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 male and female 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 a male and female.
Middle/High School winners have the opportunity to continue on to Zone, Area and District.
Club winners receive a plaque and $500.
District winners receive a plaque and a $2500 scholarship.

Each District may send one winner to Region for the opportunity to win a $5,000 scholarship. Each Region will send their winner to compete for the World Championship and a $15,000 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 the school. Teachers will work with the students to create speeches and guide them through the process.


Topic for the 2019-2020 School Year is: “Just iMagine a World without Boundaries.


Please view the Oratorical application for complete rules.

Previous School Winners


2020 Elementary School Winners

2nd Runner Up: Itay Peled – Brandywine Elementary (right)

1st Runner Up: Reese McCarthy – Kelly Mill Elementary (center)

Winner: Oliver Bissonnette – Coal Mountain Elementary (left)


2020 Middle/High School Winners representing our club in the Zone contest:

Shirin Deepak – Denmark High School, and Samiksha Gaherwar – Lambert High School.

For more information, please contact us.