“Healing the World with Optimism” was the topic stated for five young women from the area who competed in the 2022 edition of the Annual Oratorical Contest, sponsored by the Littleton Optimist Club.
The club awards $500 to its winner, a start on a college scholarship. That person goes on to compete at state level — and perhaps, district and national. Finally, a World Championship winner is announced, with enough scholarship money to head to college for a degree.
This year, the contest was held via Zoom, instead of in Bemis Library’s lower-level meeting room, which meant that the buzz of excitement felt in a crowd of students, families and teachers was missing, but the five young women who competed were energetic and composed.
Contestants were: Rose Webster, 17, from George Washington High School in Denver, first place; Athena Vimal, 15, Mountain Vista High School, Highlands Ranch, second place; Lynae Lambert, 16, Arapahoe High School, Centennial, third place; Hailey Hatch, 13, Mountain Ridge Middle School, Highlands Ranch, fourth place; and Sloane Siegal, 12, Newton Middle School, Littleton, fifth place.
Optimist International information says that this is the longest-running program sponsored by the organization, which focuses on supporting young people through this and other programs. Prizes are awarded at club, district and world/regional levels. The long-running contests started in 1928.
At the district level, Webster’s next stop, there will be scholarships of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 and the winner there will go to the World Championship Oratorical Contest, date and location to be announced.
Eligible contestants must be under 19 as of Oct. 1 of the current Optimist International contest year (Oct. 1 to Sept. 30) who have not yet completed secondary school or its equivalent, and interested contestants were told to prepare a four- to five-minute speech on the designated subject, with each club winner expected to move on to district contests, where scholarships are again awarded. CEGEP students in Canada are also eligible.
Littleton Optimist Club member Darrell Schulte has been club chairman for this contest for a number of years.
The organization also holds an essay contest for young people.