The Eden Prairie Optimist Club recently held its annual Oratorical Contest, providing young people with the opportunity to speak about their own opinions regarding the world in which they live.
This year’s theme was “Discovering the Optimism Within Me?” The contest was sponsored by Optimist International and held on April 5 at the Star Bank in Eden Prairie.
The following students placed in the top three of the Oratorical Contest:
- First place: Sophia Liu, fifth grade, Eden Lake Elementary.
- Second place: Maeve Atkinson, fifth grade, Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion.
- Third place: Amogh Singh, seventh grade, Central Middle School.
In addition to developing skills for public speaking, participants also have the opportunity to move on to compete for a college scholarship. The top finishing students were awarded gold, silver and bronze medallions and Barnes & Noble gift cards for their achievement.
Liu and Atkinson moved on to compete along with winners from other Optimist clubs in the metro area zone on April 15 at Dakota Hills Middle School in Eagan. The zone-level winners advance to compete at the DMM (Dakotas, Minnesota, Manitoba) district competition for a $2,500 college scholarship. The district contest takes place on May 2 in Watertown, South Dakota. The winner of the DMM District moves on to the Optimist International Regional/World Championship for a chance to win up to $25,000 in additional scholarships.
“All of our participants did a wonderful job presenting their speeches on this year’s topic. Young students today have so many fresh ideas about the world and their future,” said Ryan Affolter, Optimist Club oratorical chairman. “As Optimists, it is our goal to encourage them and do what we can to bring out the best in each of them. This gives them a wonderful opportunity to tap into their creativity and pursue possible scholarships at the same time. The members of our Optimist Club have no doubt that they all have bright futures ahead of them.”
The Eden Prairie Optimist Club has participated in the Optimist Oratorical Contest for more than 25 years and has been active in the community since 1978.
Other programs and service projects the club is involved in include the Floyd Berntsen Annual Hooked on Fishing Event, the Annual Optimist Kids “OK5K” on the Fourth of July, the Eden Prairie Sings! competition, and the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society Solar Boat Regatta.
Many of the youth projects and scholarships are funded by proceeds earned from Christmas tree sales at Santa’s North Pole Experience in Eden Prairie.
To learn more about the Eden Prairie Optimist Club and its community involvement, visit its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EPOptimists.
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