Area Optimist oratorical contests set for March

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The Cross Plains and Middleton Optimist Clubs will host oratorical contests later this year and District students are again encouraged to participate.

The Middleton contest will take place on March 21 at 5 p.m. at the Middleton Public Library. Applications should be e-mailed to contest chair Eric Baker by March 19. The Cross Plains contest will take place on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. at the Rosemary Garfoot Public Library.

This year's topic is, "What are My Roots of Optimism?" All area students under the age of 18 as of Oct. 1, 2017 are eligible to enter although students can only compete in one club contest. The speech must be at least 4 minutes and no more than 5 minutes and is judged on poise, content, delivery and effectiveness.

The top two finishers will advance to either the zone level, which includes district participants from a few clubs, or the Southern Wisconsin District Contest for students from participating clubs in the lower two-thirds of the state. The zone competition is scheduled to take place on March 17. The district competition will be held on May 4 in Wisconsin Dells and students will have the opportunity to win one of three college scholarships worth up to $2,500.

Local club winners will receive a medallion. The Middleton winner will also receive a $50 gift certificate. Winners at all subsequent levels will receive a plaque.

First-place winners at districts will be invited to participate in one of eight regional contests. The date and location of that competition will be announced. Scholarships up to $5,000 will be distributed. There is also an international competition for regional winners with the top prize being $15,000.

Please have your students fill out the registration form. Forms for the Cross Plains and Middleton contests are available on the District website's Community Announcements page. More information is also available on the form.