March 3, 2022—

Hartland Optimist Club held its annual Optimist Oratorical contest on March 2. There were 11 students that prepared a speech based on this year’s topic, as determined by Optimist International, “Staying Optimistic in Challenging Times” and presented it to 3 judges, plus an audience of their peers, teachers, and families.

The winners of the Hartland Club Contest this year are: 1st place, Antoni Spiewak; 2nd place, Ben Clay; 3rd place, Lydia LaRue. All three are students at Hartland’s Ore Creek Middle School.

Club contest organizer, Stefanie Furge, applauded all of the contestants, “They all took this year’s topic and made it their own. Each speech was well-written and presented, and it was clear they are all bright and able to see the world in an optimistic light. We’re proud to host this event each year as it promotes personal growth, thoughtful deliberation, and an opportunity for students to see themselves as part of our community.”

The contest is designed for youth to gain experience in public speaking and provide them with the opportunity to compete for a college scholarship.  More than $150,000 in college scholarships funded by the Optimist International Foundation is awarded annually from this program. At the Club level, the top 3 winners receive Gold, Silver, and Bronze medallions, with first and second place advancing to the area competition held Saturday, April 23. The winner there will continue to the statewide competition Saturday, May 14 and culminating in the world championship contest held in July in St. Louis, Missouri.