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Newmarket Optimist Club wants youth to share voices, views

Group hosting annual speech and essay contests for cash prizes
File photo

The Newmarket Optimist Club is inviting community youth to showcase their voice with its annual essay and speech contests.

The contests include prize money and will enter participants to potentially compete at higher levels against youth from across the region and province. The contests include a 700 to 800-word essay, a four to five-minute speech, and a speech division specifically for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Oratorical contest chair Rhonda St. John said it helps give kids research and public speaking skills.

“It’s great personal development,” she said. “We thoroughly enjoy hosting these events. We love to get these kids in.”

The contests are open to anyone 19 and younger as of Oct. 1, 2022. The prizes for all three contests are $250 for first, $150 for second and $100 for third, with the possibility of winning a $2,500 scholarship if a contender stant gets to the district competition and wins. 

The essay contest topic this year is: “Who is an everyday hero that brings out the optimism in you?” The speech contest has the topic of “discovering the optimism within me.” 

The two contests have been run by the club for years. 

St. John said the club is committed to supporting youth in the community and these contests are a way to do so.

“It gives an opportunity to everyone.”

You can sign up for the event by contacting [email protected], with a Feb. 12 deadline. You can sign up for either of the speech contests by contacting [email protected], with a March 10 deadline. Complete contest rules are available through