2024 Oratorical Winners

The Optimist Club of Van Wert held its annual oratorical contest on Feb. 29 at CHP Home Care & Hospice in Van Wert. Ten students from Crestview, Lincolnview, and Van Wert schools presented speeches on the topic, “How to Change the World with Optimism.” 

Clayton Priest, a senior from Lincolnview, earned first place in the contest. Annabel Horstman, an eighth grader at Lincolnview, earned second place, and Nora Linton, a seventh grader at Lincolnview was third. These students receive medallions and prize money of $300 for first place, $200 for second, and $100 for third.

Priest and Horstman will advance to the zone/regional contest. From there, contestants could move on to the district (state), and possibly national and international levels, for the opportunity to win college scholarships. Students were judged on poise, content of speech, presentation, and overall effectiveness according to Optimist International criteria. 

“The Optimist Oratorical Contest is a great opportunity for local students to express their thoughts and opinions to an audience and win prize money,” said Greg Yinger of the Optimist Club. “Our club strives to bring out the best in each student and we hope this project will be a step to help them achieve their goals for the future.”

The Optimist Club of Van Wert is active in the community with programs and service projects that include oratorical and essay contests, after-prom events, scholarships, bicycle safety rodeo, and Avenue of Flags.