October 9, 2016

Oratorical Contest

Greater Ohio District

Oratorical Contest/Kids Speak Out 2019-2020

Key Information to Know

District Chair and Contact Information

            Debe Dockins           937-266-2331 DebeD87@gmail.com


Important Dates to Remember

            Club contests need to be held by February 25, 2020

            Zone contents need to be held by March 18, 2020

            Regional contents need to be held by April 18, 2020

            District contest will be held on May 2, 2020

World Championships will be held July 15-17, 2020 at St. Louis University

Topic for this Year

           Just iMagine a World without Boundaries

District Level Scholarship winner levels

            1st place          $2,500 (Greater Ohio District winner receives an additional $1,000)

            2nd place         $1,500

            3rd place         $1,000

Rule Changes (Effective 2018)

Effective October 1, 2018 the contest is open to contestants under the age of 19 as of October 1 of the current Optimist International contest year (October 1 – September 30) and is not enrolled as a degree-seeking student of a post-secondary institution. Districts and Clubs will hold combined gender contests.

A contestant is eligible to enter/compete in only one Optimist Oratorical contest during a contest year (October 1 to September 30). Once a contestant wins 1st Place at the District level and/or competes at the Regional level, they are ineligible to compete in the Optimist International Oratorical Contest in subsequent years.

The Oratorical World Championships is a permanent component to the Oratorical program. Each District Winner shall compete at the World Oratorical Championships in person at the designated locations. If unable to attend in person, the next available runner-up, would be allowed to compete for the World Oratorical Scholarships.

Scoring Revisions:

1. Poise – appearance and personality: 20 10 points

2. Content  – subject adherence, theme, content, logic and color: 35 40 points

3. Delivery & Presentation – voice, volume, pronunciation, gestures, eye contact, sincerity and emphasis: 35 points

4. Overall Effectiveness – appeal, impression, attitude and effect: 10 15 points


1. Failure to announce the official topic in the first sentence – 3 points

2. Failure to identify non-original material – disqualification up to 10 points

3. Use of props, costume, etc. – disqualification 10 points

4. Time penalties – 1 point for each 15 seconds or fraction of over or under allotted time

5. Self-identification – up to 5 points or fraction of based on degree of identification

6. Failure to complete speech – disqualification

7. Use of audience prompters – disqualification

How Student Enters

Interested students submit to their local Optimist club a 4 to 5 minute speech on this year’s topic: Is there a fine line between optimism and reality? Club level contests are to be held by February 25, 2020. Student submissions will not be accepted after the club-level contests have closed.

Club Contests

Recognition at the club level are medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Clubs will hold gender-combined contests. If you have a large number of students interested, each club can have up to two students who move on. Clubs are allowed, at their discretion, to give monetary awards up to $500 to their contest winners in addition to the official medallions. Contests are to be completed on or before February 25, 2020.

Zone Contests

Recognition at the Zone level is with an engraved plaque, which will be provided to the Lt. Governors by the District Committee. Winners at the Zone level will be recognized at the Regional contests. Contests are to be completed on or before March 18, 2020.

Regional Contests

All regional participants will be given an engraved plaque, provided by the District Committee, recognizing that they were the winners at the Zone level. Winners at the Regional level will be recognized at the District contest. Contests are to be completed on or before April 12, 2019.

District Finals

Will be held at the 3rd Quarter District Conference on May 2, 2020. There will be scholarships awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. All District participants will receive an engraved plaque, provided by the District Committee, recognizing that they were the winners at the Regional level.

Optimist Oratorical World Championships

Optimist International and St. Louis University partner together to host the Optimist Oratorical World Championships that will be held July 15-17, 2020 (date is subject to change). Each Optimist District will send one District Oratorical winner to St. Louis to compete with the winners of the six Districts in the Middle America Region for a scholarship valued at $5,000 or more. The winner of each Region (eight winners total) will compete with the winner from St. Louis University’s Global Region for a $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000 World Championship scholarship. There is the potential for a student to win $22,500 or more in scholarships.


Planning Guides can be found on the Optimist International website.

Go to www.optimist.org then Member Resources-Programs then scroll down and click Scholarship Contests. Then scroll down and click on Local and District Contest. Then scroll down and click on Club Oratorical Planning Guide.

Materials for the contest can be ordered from Shumsky Promotional. You can find their contact information on the Optimist International website.

Go to www.optimist.org and scroll down to Suppliers click on Official Suppliers and all the contact information for Shumsky will be listed there.