Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 6:39 am

The Cross Plains and Middleton Optimist Clubs will again each host an oratorical contest later this year and District students are encouraged to participate.

The Cross Plains contest will be held virtually on Saturday, March 20 at 9 a.m. Email Cross Plains Optimist Club member Lee Sorenson for more details. Details about the Middleton contest will be shared as soon as they are available.

This year's topic is "Healing the World with Optimism." All area students under the age of 19 as of Oct. 1, 2020 are eligible to enter. The speech must be at least 4 minutes and no more than 5 minutes and is judged on poise, content, delivery and effectiveness.

A copy of the application form is available on the District website. Completed applications for the Cross Plains contest must be emailed to Sorenson. Forms are due by 6 p.m. on March 19. Students will receive information on how they, their parents, friends and teachers can log in to Zoom when they submit their applications.

The top finishers will advance to either the zone level, which includes district participants from a few clubs and will take place in mid-April, or the Southern Wisconsin District contest for students from participating clubs in the lower two-thirds of the state and is expected to take place in early May. Students will have the opportunity to win scholarships of up to $2,500 at districts. There is also a regional competition involving district winners with the top prize being a $5,000 scholarship. An international competitiion is also held with a grand prize of $15,000.

Registration forms for each contest are available on the  District website's Community Announcements page. More information about the contest is also available on the form.

Students can only compete in one local oratorical contest.

The Optimist Club oratorical contest originated in 1928. The contest is 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 college scholarships.