Oratorical Contest

Event details

  • March 17, 2021
  • 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. 


The date for the 2021 Contest is Thursday, March 18: registration 5:30 and the contest starts at 6:00.  The Judges and Timekeepers will be together in person at the Menomonee Falls Community Center. The student will present their speech via Zoom. The theme for this year’s contest is HEALING THE WORLD WITH OPTIMISM – We can all use a little healing after the last year!

We are currently seeking Optimist Club members who would be interested in being either a Judge or a Time Keeper for the 2021 Optimist Oratorical Contest.  We would need 6 Judges and 2 Time Keepers but would like to have a few backups as well. If you are interested, please contact either Mike Russell at michaeldrussell@sbcglobal.net  or Annie Jurczyk at annie.j@kw.com



Topic for the 2020-21 school year is: “Healing the World with Optimism”

Contest is open to any student attending school in Menomonee Falls and under the age of 18 as of October 1, 2020 (no minimum age applies). Prepare a speech 4-5 minutes in length on the topic indicated above.

Participants in the Club contest win cash awards based on the number of entries. The winner of the Club contest advances to the Zone contest to be held in March or April. Winner of the Zone contest advances to the District contest.

How To Enter: Interested students submit a speech on the pre-assigned topic, “Healing the World with Optimism,” to Mike Russell at michaeldrussell@sbcglobal.net  or Annie Jurczyk at annie.j@kw.com.

2020-2021 Application

Deadline to submit application for participation in the Club contest is March 6, 2020.


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.


Oratorical Contest Co-Chairs: Mike Russell and Annie Jurczyk