Optimist Club Essay Contest 2015

Optimist International Essay Contest

Topic for the 2017-18 School Year is:"Can Society Function Without Respect?"

Who: Youth under the age of 18 as of October 1, 2017 located in the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean.

How To Enter: Interested students must contact their local Optimist Club. They need to submit an essay on the pre-assigned topic. To find out a contact, please e-mail the Programs Department at programs@optimist.org.

The Essay Contest planning pages are intended for use by Optimist Clubs in organizing and conducting a contest in their Club. They contain no information on entering the contest and are of no use to students wishing to enter the contest. Students must contact their local Optimist Club.


    All Club-level contests are held by early February. Student submissions will not be accepted after the Club-level contests have closed. Please contact your District Chair for more information.
    Clubs and Districts
    The deadline for Clubs to submit their winning essay to the District Chair is February 28, 2018. The deadline for Districts to submit their winner’s information to Optimist International is April 15, 2018.
For an application with contest rules, please click here. The application must be submitted to the sponsoring Optimist Club.

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!

The guidelines require that contestants be under the age of 18 as of October 1, 2017 and attending school in the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean. 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.

Information for Optimist Members planning the contest:
All Members can now view and conveniently print planning pages for any International Program from your home computer. Click here to view the 2017-2018 Club Essay Contest planning pages. Click here to view the 2017-2018 District Essay Contest planning pages. To view the planning pages for any of the International Programs and Community Activities, please visit the Planning Guides page.

Essay Contest Package - A Program Package for the Essay Contest is available on the Package Programs page of the website. On that page, Clubs can find useful materials to help them get started with a new Essay Contest program.

Support merchandise for this program can be ordered through Shumsky for US and Caribbean Clubs and from Ansell's Awards and Specialties for Canadian Clubs. Contact information for both supply companies can be found here.

To enter, you must contact your local Optimist Club!

For additional information, please contact Optimist International Programs Department by e-mail at programs@optimist.org, or call (800) 500-8130.

Certificates of Participation
If your Club or District is sponsoring a contest, certificates of participation can be presented to all contestants.

Certificate for Club level

Certificate for Region/Zone level

Certificate for District level

Publicize the Essay Contest
Optimist International has developed a series of news releases that Clubs and Districts can use in connection with their participation in international programs. Below are sample news releases that Clubs and Districts can use to promote their Essay Contests. Please note that the .doc version enables users to type their information into fields*, while the .pdf files are for viewing only.

Essay Contest - Prior to event (.doc)

Essay Contest - Prior to event (.pdf)

Essay Contest - After event (.doc)

Essay Contest - After event (.pdf)

District Essay Contest - After event (.doc)

District Essay Contest - After event (.pdf)


In the Great Falls Community, we support many, many programs! Some of the programs we have contributed to over the  years include:

Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Club, Shriner’s Shodaire Hospital Golf Tournament, the FAST Swim Team, Mini-Bolts Soccer team, My Student in Need, the NMS 8th-grade Orchestra travel to Spokane for a All NW performance, Rural Dynamics Youth Financial education program, Big Sky Taekwondo Booster Club, and most recently,  the Westside Orchard Garden and the GFPS Music Program (by sponsoring a Rob Quist workshop and concert) .

We also have some National programs through Optimist International that we participate in:

Youth Clubs (JOOI)

Home to the world’s most dynamic coalition of youth volunteers, the members of JOOI live by the motto of “kids helping kids.” JOOI is recognized by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and offers three different age groups: Alpha Clubs (elementary), Junior Clubs (middle school) and Octagon Clubs (high school). To learn more, click here.

The Optimist Club of Great Falls sponsors the DOWNRIGHT JOOI CLUB of Great Falls, which is a Junior Club designed for Middle School students. They are active in fundraising towards the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life program among others. Currently their membership has doubled and is developing strong leaders. They participate in weekly meetings, learning leadership skills and more about how they can assist in their own community. They are always looking for new members! Attend one of their weekly meetings if you’d like to get involved!


JOOI members represent the times well by making their communities better – one service project at a time. With more than 15,000 members in more than 500 communities, JOOI members are constantly working to promote positive change in their communities. If you are currently a JOOI member, enjoy the site. If you are not … join the revolution.

Scholarship Contests

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.

Essay Contest
This contest requires students under 18 as of October 1, 2015 and who are educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean to compose a 700- to 800-word essay around a central idea. The contest is designed to develop writing and critical thinking skills. One scholarship of $2,500 per District is awarded by Optimist International each year. For more information, click here.

Oratorical Contest
The Oratorical Contest is open to students under 18 as of October 1, 2015 and who are educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean. Students are required to prepare a 4- to 5-minute speech on a pre-assigned topic. This contest is designed to assist youth in gaining public speaking experience and provide them with an opportunity to compete for a scholarship. For more information, click here.  Please watch for upcoming details after the first of the year for the 2016 Scholarship opportunities.

Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Students who are certified to have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more may compete in this contest designed to help them develop the skills and confidence to present in sign or orally to an audience. For more information, click here.




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