C-U Optimist Club
Essay Contest

Details about our essay contest are below.


2020 Topic:
"Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams you iMagine?"

The Optimist Club of Champaign-Urbana, #12064, is encouraging area students to contemplate the phrase "Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams you iMagine?" as part of the Optimist International Essay Contest for 2020.

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!

Judges will evaluate the local students essays, based on the theme and determine the top winner. 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.

“Young students today have so many fresh ideas about the world and their future,” Club President Marcus Johnson said. “As Optimists, it is our goal to encourage them and do what we can to bring out the best in each of them.  This gives them a wonderful opportunity to tap into their creativity and pursue possible scholarships at the same time.”

Students must be under the age of 19 as of October 1, 2019 being educated in the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean. The deadline date is January 10, 2020. Those wishing to participate in the essay contest can find out more about the contest by contacting the club at mcminnes@sbcglobal.net or 217-417-2734. All essays must be submitted electronically, NO EXCEPTIONS. The winner must provide a birth certificate copy.


Contest Rules, Entry & Award

Topic: "Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams You iMagine?"

Who: Youth under the age of 19 as of October 1, 2018 (grades K-12) who have not yet graduated from high school or the equivalent.

  • Write an original 700-800 word essay on the above topic.  Title, footnotes and bibliography are not included in the final word count. Hyphenated words count as one (1) word.
  • Complete rules, along with the entry form can be found here.
  • Submit essay electronically (no exceptions) by February 14, 2020 to: mcminnes@sbcglobal.net

How: Click here to download a copy of the official entry form. Please read all of the Essay Contest Rules carefully. Deadline is February 14, 2020.

Local Club Award: The local club award is $50.00, a medallion and dinner with parents and club members, date TBD.

Illinois District Award: $2,500 college scholarship

Questions? Contact us by clicking here.