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March 15, 2023 @ 5:30 pm9:00 pm

(above) 2023 Oratorical Contest
left to right: Annie Jurczyk, Co-Chair; 1st Place: Joshua Mims, 2nd Place: Anirudh Warrier, 3rd Place: Sruthi Warrier and Mike Russell, Co-Chair


Everyone had a great time at the 2023 Oratorical Contest held at the Community Center the evening of March 15.  Three students presented their speeches on “Discovering the Optimism within ME!”  Two returning champions went voice to voice, with Joshua Mims taking first place and Anirudh Warrier taking second place.  The third orator was Anirudh’s sister Sruthi who did a wonderful job for a 5th grader.  She will definitely be a contender to watch in the upcoming years.  I know that Mike and I and all of the volunteers have a better understanding of where these bright stars get their optimism.

The top two orators will be representing us at the District Oratorical Contest on May 11, 2023 at the 3rd Quarter Conference in Wisconsin Dells.

We were lucky to have wonderful volunteers helping us.  We would like to thank our judges: Cathy Sharkey, Stevie Mistele-Wildt, Jim Weitzer, Dr. Carolyn Anderson, Shannon Dederick, and Clara Scheckel; and our timekeepers and tabulators were: Jenn Dedrick, Larry Hebbring, Rema Kunnath, Marsha Hebbring.



Topic for the 2022-23 school year is: “Discovering the Optimism within Me.”

Contest is open to any student attending school in Menomonee Falls and under the age of 18 as of October 1, 2022 (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. Winner of the Zone contest advances to the District contest.




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


March 15, 2023
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
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Menomonee Falls Community Education and Recreation
W152N8645 Margaret Rd.
Menomonee Falls, 53051 United States
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