Oratorical Contest

Event details

  • March 18, 2020
  • 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • North Middle School Library Media Center N88 W16750 Garfield Drive, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

(above) 2018 Oratorical Finalists pictured from left to right: 2nd Place Beth Kathzman, Optimist Oratorical Chair Dawn Mariscal, 1st Place Rohitha Punathil and 3rd Place Raghav Pandya. 


On Wednesday, March 21st, 2019, the annual Club Oratorical Contest was held at North Middle School. The topic this year was “Is There a Fine Line Between Optimism and Reality?” The speeches given by all the participants were amazing. Nathan Mystrow scored the highest and advanced to the Zone Contest to represent the Menomonee Falls Optimist Club held on Saturday, March 30th. Come join me on Wednesday, May 1st at the morning meeting as we present Nathan with his cash award and hear his award-winning presentation.

Thank you shout out goes to Chris O’Reilly who co-chairs this event and assists with recruiting all the volunteers and judges necessary to host a successful event. Our wonderful volunteers were, Jenny O’Keefe, Corrine & Tex Reiter, Steve Fleming, Terri Newman, Linda Zylka, Nancy Kane, Kathy Kiepert, Beth Saunders, Rema Kunnath, and pizza boy, Jimmy D. Couldn’t do it without you all.

After being involved with this event for 10 years it is now time to step aside, pass the binder down, and allow for new leadership to step in and bring a new life and energy to make this event and the Essay Contest vibrant again. I thank the club for allowing me this growth opportunity over the years and the support shown. Club members interested in taking these two events over please contact either myself or Club President, Jeanine Dederich to discuss the transition.



Beginning in 1928, the Oratorical Contest has become the longest-running program of Optimist International. The contest is designed for young people to gain experience in public speaking and provide them with an opportunity to compete for multiple college scholarships with a pre-assigned topic.

Oratorical Contest LogoInterested students prepare a 4- to 5-minute speech on the assigned topic to be presented at their local Optimist Club’s contest. The speeches are judged at the Club level, Zone level, Regional level (if needed) and then at the District level. Optimist Club Oratorical Contest Winners will compete at the Optimist District Contest for a chance to win up to a $2,500 scholarship.

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.

How To Enter: Interested students submit a speech on the pre-assigned topic to their local Optimist Club.For more information or to receive contest materials, please contact Dawn Mariscal at: dmariscal@wi.rr.com or call (262)250-7680.


Oratorical Contest Chair: Chris O’Reilly