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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 $100 to $2,500 annually.
Step 1:  Download the 
Scholarship Application
Step 2:  Gather all requirements and scan the completed application to

Scholarship Application
PDF Download

Optimist Reno Area Scholarships

Since 1993, The
Optimist Club of Reno has awarded seventy-five $1,600.00 scholarships, worth $112,500.00. The $1,600.00 scholarships are awarded to 8th-grade students who hope to pursue a college education at the University of Nevada. The scholarships are awarded in the eighth grade to serve as an incentive for the students to excel in high school and continue on to college and receive their degrees.

Optimist Club of Reno is partnering with the University of Nevada College of Engineering, Civil Engineering Department to facilitate the interested scholarship recipients’ transition into the engineering field. We are also partnering with the Children’s Cabinet, with a scholarship set-aside. Beginning in 2022, six $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to students who show desire and commitment to go to college or technical training school.

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:

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.

First conducted in 1928, this is the second most popular Optimist International Program. Nearly 2,000 clubs participate in this program each year. The winners at the Club level receive medallions and Zone winners receive a plaque. 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.

Optimist Club of Reno encourages area students to speak their minds about the topic “Staying Optimistic in Challenging Times” as part of the Optimist International Oratorical Contest for the 2021-2022 year.
Who is eligible?

The Oratorical Contest is open to students under 18 as of October 1, 2021. 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 $100 for First, $50 Second, and $25 for Third Place.   The winning speeches will advance to the Zone level, and possibly the District level for the opportunity to win college scholarships.  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!
Districts and Clubs may opt to hold an online Oratorical Contest.

Topic for the 2021-2022 school year is: “Staying Optimistic in Challenging Times”
2022 Optimist International Oratorical World Championships
July 20-22, 2022 Saint Louis University St. Louis, Missouri, USA
For an Official Application and Complete List of Rules, please click on either the following link to go to the web page, or the next link to download the .pdf file: 2022 Official Application and Rules

Oratorical Info and Application
PDF Download

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 2021-2022 school year is:

"How Does an Optimistic Mindset Change My Tomorrow?” 

Who Can Enter: Youth under the age of 19 as of October 1, 2021 (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 4, 2022 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
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