Essay Contest

Essay ContestThis contest sponsored by Optimist International each year presents young people with the opportunity to write about their opinions regarding the world in which they live. 

Entrants must be under the age of 19, not yet have graduated from high school or the equivalent before the end of the school year, and must be educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean.  Entrants write a 700–800 word essay expressing their views on the assigned topic.

In addition to the opportunity to enhance written communication skills, participants have the chance to win a scholarship toward advanced education.

Topic for 2019–2020

Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams You iMagine?

The deadline for entries to be received by the club is Jan. 22, 2020.

For more information, contact Sue Cavanaugh (410-561-3048).


Club level:

  1. Medallion (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
  2. Gift card (1st-$75/ 2nd-$50/ 3rd-$25)
  3. Advancement of the fist place essay to the district contest

District level:

  1. Engraved plaque
  2. $2,500 college scholarship
  3. Advancement to the international contest

International level:

  1. Engraved first-place plaque
  2. Recognition in The Optimist magazine

Contest for 2018–2019

When All the World’s Problems Are Solved, Is Optimism Still Necessary?

Contest for 2017–2018

Topic:  “Can Society Function Without Respect?”
Club recognition:  Three finalists were honored at the Timonium Optimist dinner on Mar. 5, 2018.
These winners read their essays for the assembly, and awards were announced.

Winners for 2017–2018

First place:  Nicole Lee 
School represented: Dulaney High

              Click here to read Nicole’s winning essay.

Second place: Emily Persinger 
School represented: Dulaney High

Third place: Maria Eberhart 
School represented: Dulaney High

Timonium Winners Have Taken Top OI Essay Prize

  1. 2004–2005:  Rae Borsetti from Towson High School on the topic “The Power of One”
  2. 1986–1987:  Allison Gillespie from Dulaney High School

Both of the club’s international winners were students of the same English teacher, Mr. William Jones.