VAN WERT – The Optimist Club of Van Wert invites area students to enter its annual Oratorical contest for the opportunity to win prize money and the possibility of earning thousands of dollars in scholarships.

The Optimist Club Oratorical Contest is set for March 14 and will be conducted online via Zoom. Students are asked to craft a four-to-five-minute speech addressing the topic, “Healing the World with Optimism.”

Winners will receive cash awards of $300 for first place, $200 for second place, and $100 for third place. The top two local contestants will advance to zone, regional, district, and possibly international level competitions for the opportunity to win $2,500 up to $22,500 in scholarships.

The contest is open to all Van Wert County students who are under the age of 19 as of Oct. 1, 2020, and are not enrolled as a degree seeking student of a post-secondary institution. There is no minimum age to enter, but the contest is generally appropriate for middle school and high school students.

Oratorical contest applications are available now at area middle and high schools or may be obtained by contacting Greg Yinger at The deadline for entries is March 8.

Carrying the motto “Friend of Youth,” the Optimist Club of Van Wert conducts positive service projects in support of young people. To learn more about the club’s volunteer service opportunities, visit or @OptimistVW on Facebook.