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Friday, May 26, 2017

Let's send the PNW District Optimist International Oratorical Champion to St. Louis

may fan pnw district optimist clubs
May Fan 
The PNW District welcomed many students to the third quarter meeting and proclaimed three to be winners in their respective Optimist Oratorical or CCDHH contests. What's that? I thought that
Optimist International sponsored only two contests? 

Yes, it is true, Optimist International sponsors only two contests. Optimist International sponsors the Oratorical Contest that, in the PNW District, is gender neutral. This allows the first place contestant to win a $2,500 scholarship, second place to win a $1,500 scholarship and third place to win a $1,000 scholarship. The winner of this contest advances to the Optimist International Oratorical Regional and World Championship at St. Louis University.

Optimist International also sponsors the Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) where one student who meets Optimist International guidelines for impairment may win a $2,500 scholarship at the district level only.

However, the PNW District has also decided, by vote of less than half of its Optimist Clubs, to divide the CCDHH contest into two categories, one for deaf students who sign and  one for deaf students who speak. Members and Optimist Clubs in the PNW District contribute to the second $2,500 scholarship over and above the contributions made by the Optimist International Foundation and Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation for scholarship contests.

Because the PNW District already asks for extra funding from its Optimist Clubs,  I am hesitant to put out another request. However, I've been encouraged by Phil Hansen, Vice President of the Vancouver, BC Optimist Club to share a funding request with other clubs in the PNW District.

Here is his plea:
"We are humbled as we count our blessings as we serve our youth and their families in our communities. But what is our ultimate goal? To bring out the best in everything we all do. If we do not bring out the best in ourselves first we cannot do so for others. "LIVE THE CREED," but that is only the beginning; a small but significantly important list of standards to follow in every setting of our life.
We want to give our best, and in so doing we believe that our contestants deserve to be on a level playing field, to perform at their best. Live Feed does not do them justice. We will appreciate the PNW District's financial assistance for May Fan to attend there. 
Please send information you can provide that will help May Fan, prepare for her travel as soon as possible. May Fan wants to go to St. Louis Missouri where the contest is actually held."
You may be aware that Optimist International expanded its Oratorical Contest in 2016 to become a global competition. Initially, it imagined that students might compete remotely via the internet from far away places.  In its inaugural year, many did, including the contestant from the PNW District. However, some students traveled to St. Louis to compete in person.

It appeared that the students in St. Louis had a decided advantage over the remote participants because they did not have the technical difficulties that came with the new online territory. Additionally, the students gained from meeting one another and experiencing the St. Louis University campus.

Therefore, in 2017, its second year, Optimist International encouraged its districts to send contestants to St. Louis to compete.

It appears that perhaps the PNW District administration needs some extra encouragement to make this happen.

By my estimation, sending one person to the competition would cost approximately $500.00 USD.

Please join with me in entreating the PNW District to do the right thing and allocate at least $500.00 USD for May Fan, and those who come in the years to follow, to fully compete in the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships. 

Thank you.

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