March 9, 2023—

Hartland Optimist Club held its annual Optimist Oratorical contest on March 8. There were 11 students that prepared a speech based on this year’s topic, as determined by Optimist International, “Discovering the Optimism within Me” 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, Anne Marie Yarber; 2nd place, Zachary Tennis; 3rd place, Willow Robinson. All three are students at Hartland’s Ore Creek Middle School. Other contestants were: Vyola Forcia, Isabella Gembal, Mara Laibly, Danielle Renaud, Avery Richardson, Amelia Salinas-Arredondo, Abby Tenbusch, and Artan Vuli.

Club contest organizer, Stefanie Furge, applauded all of the contestants, “This year’s topic lent itself to diverse personal stories. Each speech was well-written and presented, and it was clear they are all motivated and able to see the world in an optimistic light. The club is 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 22. The winner there will continue to the statewide competition Saturday, May 13 and culminating in the world championship contest held in July in St. Louis, Missouri.