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Thursday, February 14, 2013

CCDHH district funding for 2013 explained

In October 2012, attendees at  the PNW Optimist First Quarter District Meeting approved a new line item in the budget. It was proposed and accepted that the district contribute an additional $2,500 in scholarship prize money to the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH).

With opponents citing that it was not the district's mission to fund scholarships, the administration accepted the proposal with a few caveats. The first caveat was that Optimist Clubs would be encouraged to donate to the fund. The second caveat was that the contest be fair to all clubs and students who might enter. 

Coming forward with a solution to the first concern, Scott Keller, President, Portland Northeast, challenged each club in the district to contribute $100 to an additional scholarship fund. Many said they would and to date three clubs have made a contribution. 

Thank you to Albany, Caldwell and Chehalis-Centralia for your generous $100 donations. 

Now is the time for you and your Optimist Club to join in this cause by making a donation to the PNW District Optimist CCDHH Scholarship fund. All donations will be recognized on this website. Please send your check to:

      PNW District - Optimist International
      S/T Chris Stearns
      PO Box 1656
      Twin Falls, Idaho 83303-1656

Now for the second caveat. How do you make the contest fair to all? After reflecting, researching, and talking to many people, Governor Larry Blackburn decided that the only way to improve upon the rules provided by Optimist International and the Optimist International Foundation was to model the program after the traditional Oratorical Contest. 

In the traditional oratorical contest, boys and girls of all ages and abilities compete against one another for three scholarship prizes: 1st - $2,500; 2nd - $1,500; 3rd - $1,000. At every level of the competition - club, zone, regional and district - the contestants follow the rules that are published by Optimist International. With established and recognized rules, clubs and students may participate whether they are in a small or large community knowing that each contestant has followed the same rules and come up through the same process. 

This week, in order to make it clear what students will find when they reach the District competition, Governor Larry advised the CCDHH chairpersons of the procedure. In an email, he said, "We will follow OI CCDHH contest rules as appropriate. The only difference is we will award three places. [1st: $2500. 2nd: $1500. 3rd: $1000.] The mechanics of the extra donation will be worked out between the district and the OI Foundation and most likely be awarded when the winners attend higher education. Thanks to everyone for their many efforts in making this contest successful and fair to all participants."

If you have any questions about this procedure, please feel free to email Governor Larry directly. It sounds like a reasonable approach to recognize CCDHH students and Oratorical students equally.

And, by the way, it's time to start thinking about the third quarter meeting where you will see all the great contestants. Plan now to join the PNW District in Richland, Washington, May 17-18, 2013. Thanks to the Tri Cities Optimist Club for hosting this fun and inspirational event.

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