Optimist International Essay Contest

Topic for the 2018-19 school year is: "When All the World’s Problems are Solved, is Optimism Still Necessary?"

Who: Youth under the age of 19 as of October 1, 2018 (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. To find out a contact, please e-mail the Programs Department at programs@optimist.org.

The Essay Contest planning pages are intended for use by Optimist Clubs in organizing and conducting a contest in their Club. They contain no information on entering the contest and are of no use to students wishing to enter the contest. Students must contact their local Optimist Club.

When:

  • Students
    All Club-level contests are held by early February. Student submissions will not be accepted after the Club-level contests have closed. Please contact your District Chair for more information.
  • Clubs and Districts
    The deadline for Clubs to submit their winning essay to the District Chair is February 28, 2019. The deadline for Districts to submit their winner’s information to Optimist International is April 15, 2019. 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.


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.