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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Optimistic speakers imagine a world without boundaries

The winner of the PNW District Optimist International Oratorical Contest, Amy Ren, performed very well in the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships. Unfortunately, she was no match for the other talented participants who represented their respective districts. 

After a day-long competition, seven regional winners were chosen to compete in the final round: 

Region 1 - Atlantic Central - Carina Bruno
Region 2 - North Florida - Mattea Mauro
Region 3 - Illinois - Jaylon Muchison
Region 4 - DMM - Ayana Stauffer
Region 5 - Oklahoma - Jasmine Berasategui
Region 6 - Pacific Central - Amaya De La Cruz
Region 7 - Centre du Quebec - Flavie Bastien

All spoke, in a random order, about the same topic, "Just Imagine a World Without Boundaries." 

One young man said that a world without boundaries is a world of happiness. A young lady said that by removing boundaries we have the perspective to enjoy the fellowship that conversation brings. And the top speaker amazed the crowd with his belief:  
"Boundaries give us something to look forward to hope and optimism that one day when they will surpass their height and it is from this hope that inspiration blossoms, opening our minds to a way to better the world we live in. So what is my hope?

That with each you exceed, there will always be another boundary to overcome. It is my hope that for each you pass you become stronger and stronger and stronger in your tenacity."
That young man is Jaylon Muchison, a 2020 high school graduate from Belleville, Illinois who is looking forward to his freshman year at the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana.

Congratulations, Jaylon! We can't wait to watch you scale those boundaries with leaps and bounds as you pursue your dreams.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Amy Ren to compete in the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships

Following a successful virtual convention, Optimist International is moving forward to its second major online event, the Optimist International World Oratorical Championships.

The speak-off will be held July 16-17, 2020 via Zoom.

If one remembers, a mere four years ago, the original idea of the Optimist International World Championships was that all contestants would speak online from their home location. As Optimist International partnered with St. Louis University for the activity, they anticipated an at-large segment from a truly international audience. I can recall seeing participants from countries outside the typical boundaries of our clubs; however, Optimist Clubs remained dominant in recruiting and advancing speakers to the championships.

With many districts within reasonable travel distance to St. Louis, they began sending their contestants in person to the event while some in more distant districts, like those on the West Coast and the Caribbean, remained in a virtual setting. Optimist International discovered the joy of hosting the event live and I believe this year was the first year that the organization asked all districts to plan to send their contestants to St. Louis for the finals.

Enter COVID-19. Rendering all activities virtual, Optimist International had to opt for, ironically, its original design. While I'm sad at the reason, I am actually quite happy that the event will finally see its potential in action.

On July 16 and 17, youthful speakers will ask the world to "Just Imagine a World Without Boundaries."

Just go to optimist.org/oratorical on the days of the events to log-in to the Zoom presentations.

The speaking order and agenda are shown in the images. Please click to enlarge.

In the Pacific Northwest District, we are cheering on Amy Ren of British Columbia.
Best wishes, Amy! Speak well.

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