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Each year the Optimist Club of Arlington sponsors an Essay Contest for Arlington high school students.

A topic on optimism is selected by Optimist International and is administered worldwide. The Contestants use the topic to develop an 800-word composition. The top three essay contestants receive a monetary award from $1,000 to $1,500 and are presented awards at a Club luncheon. The club’s winner goes to a District-wide contest.

The Essay Contest is competitive with 20-70 entrants from Yorktown, Washington Liberty, Wakefield, HB Woodlawn and Bishop O’Connell high schools. However, the program is open to all Arlington high-school-age residents.

2023-2024 School Year

Topic for the 2023-2024 school year is: “Optimism: How It Connects Us” 

Who: The contest is open to contestants under the age of 19 as of October 1st of the current Optimist International contest year (October 1 – September 30) and who have not yet completed secondary school or its equivalent, including CEGEP students in Québec, Canada. There is no minimum age. Students must enter in the District in which they reside. U.S. students attending school on military installations outside the U.S. are eligible to enter in their last home of record.

How To Enter: Interested students must contact their local Optimist Club. They need to submit an essay on the pre-assigned topic. 

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.



    All Club-level contests are held by early February. Student submissions will not be accepted after the Club-level contests have closed. 

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.