By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves.
Scholarships & Contests
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Scholarships & Contests - $2,000 College Scholarships

Optimists Create Opportunities for students.
Annually, the Optimist Club of Reno organization provides multiple opportunities to recognize exceptional middle and high school students as they display prowess in essay writing, oratorical speeches, and academic potential.

We seek partnership with those counselors, teachers, and organization leaders that can motivate students to believe in their work and themselves. Through our Optimistic Opportunities Program, we look forward to receiving applications from students of diverse backgrounds and needs for scholarships and awards ranging from $500 to $2,500 annually.

College Scholarships

The Optimist Club of Reno is proud to announce the Optimist Club of Reno Scholarship Program for eighth-grade students. Six(6) $2,000 scholarships towards a Northern Nevada College or University (UNR, TMCC, WNC). 2023 Submission Form

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Trade Scholarships

The Optimist Club of Reno is proud to announce the Optimist Club of Reno Scholarship Program for students ages 16 to 20.
Five(5) $1,000 scholarships towards enrollment in northern Nevada trade schools.
2023 Submission Form

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The 2021 West Coast Region winner of the Oratorical Contest, Julia Abbott.
2021 West Coast Region winner - Julia Abbott (Pacific Southwest District) West Coast Regional Winner $5,000 & 2nd Place World Winner $10,000 Sponsor Club: 14654 Pacific Palisades, CA
Oratorical Contest:

Since 1928, the Optimist Oratorical Contest gives youngsters the chance to speak to the world. More than $150,000 in college scholarships funded by the Optimist International Foundations is awarded annually from this program.

The winners at the Reno Club level receive medallions, honorarium awards. Zone winners receive a plaque, and advancement to District competitions. Districts have the opportunity to provide a first place scholarship of $2,500, a second place scholarship of $1,500, and a third place scholarship of $1,000.

Winners of the District level will be eligible to compete in a regional competition in St. Louis Missouri at Saint Louis University.  Winners of the regional contests will compete in the World Championship also held at Saint Louis University. 
 Students could win up to $22,500 in scholarships!

Optimist Club of Reno encourages area students to speak their minds about the topic “Discovering the Optimism Within Me” as part of the Optimist International Oratorical Contest for the 2022-2023 year.
Who is eligible?

The Oratorical Contest is open to students under 19 as of October 1, 2022. Students are required to prepare a 4- to 5-minute speech on the topic. This contest is designed to assist youth in gaining public speaking experience and provide them with an opportunity to compete for a scholarship.

The Optimist Club will judge the local students’ speeches based on content and presentation to determine the top winners.  Winners will receive a medallion, certificate, and a monetary award of $250 for First, $150 Second, and $100 for Third Place.   The winning speeches will advance to the Zone level, and possibly the District level for the opportunity to win college scholarships.  Districts and Clubs may opt to hold an online Oratorical Contest.
2023 Optimist International Oratorical World Championships
July 2023 - Saint Louis University St. Louis, Missouri, USA
For an Official Application and Complete List of Rules, please click on the image to the right to view the file, or click the download button.
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ESSAY Contest:

The Essay Contest is sponsored by Optimist International to give young people the opportunity to write about their own opinions regarding the world in which they live. The approach can encompass a young person’s personal experience, the experience of their country or a more historical perspective. In additional to developing skills for written expression, participants also have the opportunity to win a college scholarship!

Club winners advance to the District contest to compete for a $2,500 college scholarship. The District-level scholarships are funded by the Optimist International Foundations.

Optimist International Essay Contest Topic for the 2022-2023 school year is:

"Who is an Everyday Hero that Brings Out the Optimism in You?” 

Who Can Enter: Youth under the age of 19 as of October 1, 2022 (and is not enrolled as a degree seeking student of a post-secondary institution) in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean. There is no minimum age.

How To Enter: Interested students must contact their local Optimist Club. They need to submit an essay on the pre-assigned topic.

When To Enter:
Deadline is February 17, 2023 for judging

  • Participants must write on the official topic
  • Essay must have a Title Page
  • Essay must be double-spaced typewritten and have at least 700 words
  • No references may be made in the essay that identifies the student, parents, school or community, etc.
Please refer to the complete set of rules in the downloadable document below.

Participants must provide:

  • Completed Essay Application
  • Essay
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or Passport
  • Completed Student information portion of the District Entry Form
Submit the above to:

Optimist Club of Reno
P.O. Box 148
Reno, NV
. 89504


Lorraine Seabert, Essay Chair
14170 Eagle Springs Ct.
Reno, NV 89511
(775) 848-2210

Student Essay Rules and
Application Download

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Community Recognition
Each year Optimist recognizes outstanding people running programs that help the community.
Respect the Law
Teacher of the Year
Other Grants
Oratorical Contest: $100 Club Award and $2,500 District Award
Essay Contest: $100 Club Award and $2,500 District Award