The Optimist Club of Van Wert held its annual oratorical contest on March 6 at CHP Home Care & Hospice, 1159 Westwood Dr., Van Wert. The topic for 2020-21 is: “Staying Optimistic in Challenging Times.”
Eliza Leiendecker, a homeschooled eighth grade student from Van Wert, earned first place in the contest. Berkley Webster, a third-grader at Van Wert Elementary, garnered second-place, and Cooper Webster, a sixth-grade student at Van Wert was third. All three were awarded medallions and prize money of $300 for first place, $200 for second, and $100 for third. Derek Young from Crestview Middle School placed fourth.
Leiendecker advances to the regional contest on Apr. 9 at UNOH in Lima. The winner at the regional contest moves on to the district (state) level, 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. New members are always welcome! To learn more about the Optimist Club of Van Wert, visit Facebook.com/OptimistVW.