The speech contest is designed to inspire today’s youth to motivate and inform others through the are of public speaking. It provides young people with the opportunity tp compete for a college scholarship and express their views on a pre-assigned topic.

History of the Contest
Since it’s start in 1928, the Optimist International Oratorical Contest has become the longest-running program sponsored by Optimist International. Nearly 2000 Clubs participate in this program each year. The contest is designed for teens to gain experience in public speaking and to provide them with the opportunity to win a college scholarship. Two winners from each District winner recieve college scholarships and gain valuable experience. 

General Rules

  1. The contests are open to any boy and girl who are sponsored by an Optimist Club.
  2. Each Contestant shall prepare his or her own speech. However, each conetant may receive advice in the preparation of the speech and make any minor changes or improvements int eh speech at any time.
  3. Optimist International will have the right to edit, publish and record any speech used in any contest without payment to the author.

Scoring of Contest

Scoring in all Club, Zone and District contests will conform to the following schedule.

  • Poise: (Appearance, Personality) 20 points
  • Content of Speech: (Subject, Adherence, Theme, Logic, Content, Color) 35 points
  • Delivery and Presentation: (Voice, Volume, Pronunciation, Gestures, Eye Contact, Sincerity & Emphasis) 35 points
  • Overall Effectiveness: ( Appeal, Impression, Attitude, Effect) 10 points


  • Use of props, costume: disqualification
  • Self-identification 1-5 points

  • Time penalties: 1 point for each 15 seconds over or under the officail limits
  • Failure to announce topic: 3 points
  • Failure to complete speech: disqualification
  • Failure to identify non original material: disqualification

Further information
Optimist International Oratorical Contest

Samples of Past Speeches