Local students soon will get the chance to cash in on their writing or oratory skills, thanks to the Elk Grove Optimist Club.

An essay and speech contest, sponsored by the local Elk Grove Optimist Club in conjunction with Optimist International, are now open to students from public, parochial, home, or private schools who are under the age of 19 who have not yet graduated from high school.

The topic for the essay contest is “Is optimism the key to achieving the dreams you imagine?” The length of the essays must be 700 to 800 words, with the title, footnotes and bibliography not included in the final count.

The first, second, and third-place winners will receive medallions, along with $300 cash for first, $200 for second, and $100 for third place at the local level.  The first place winner at the local level will advance to the district level to compete for a $2,500 scholarship.  

All applicants must submit an application, a copy of the essay, and a copy of their birth certificate by Feb. 14 to the Elk Grove Optimist Club. P. O. Box 672, Elk Grove, CA  95759.  

The speech contest topic is “Just imagine a world without boundaries?”  The speech must be at least four minutes in length and cannot exceed five minutes.

All applicants must submit an application, a copy of the speech, and a copy of their birth certificate by Feb. 18, to the Elk Grove Optimist Club, P. O. Box 672, Elk Grove, CA  95759.  

The first, second, and third-place winners will receive medallions, along with $300 cash for first, $200 for second, and $100 for third at the local level.  The first place winner at the local level will advance to the district level to compete for a $2,500 scholarship.  

There is also a Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  The same rules apply as the oratorical contest except that the student must be certified to have uncorrected hearing loss of 40 decibels or more.

First-place winners at the district level for the essay and speech contests will receive a $2,500 scholarship.  For information and applications for the essay or speech contest, contact your English teacher or Career Center at your school or call Pat Weaver, Elk Grove Optimist Speech and Essay Chairperson, at (916) 685-3536 or Joan Estepa at (916) 687-7152.