Students from West Bend School District participate in Optimist Club Oratorical Contest

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Feb. 1, 2017 – West Bend, WI – Four students from West Bend participated in the inaugural Optimist Club of West Bend Oratorical Contest. Students ranged in age from 12 through 17. All of the students did a phenomenal job speaking on the theme, “What the World Gains from Optimism.”

At the Club level 1st place was awarded a medallion and a $150 cash prize, 2nd place received a medallion and a $100 cash prize, and 3rd place received a medallion and a $50 cash prize.

Taking first place was 14-year-old Natalie Heinrich. Second place was awarded to 15-year-old Libby Willkomm. Both students will be sent to the zone level where they will compete against winners from other Optimist Clubs in the area. That contest will be Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Pauline Haas Public Library in Sussex.

The winner of the zone competition will be sent to the District level with the chance to win a scholarship, and then possibly on the Optimist International Regional /World Championship for a chance to win an additional $5,000 or up to another $15,000 scholarship.

“All the students did a wonderful job presenting their speeches around the topic being presented,” Club President Mike Hartwell said. “The members of our Optimist Club have no doubt all the students have bright futures.”

The Club would like to thank the sponsors of the Oratorical contest; The Law Offices of John A. Best, Toucan’s Food and Custard, the Kettle Moraine YMCA and Michael and Lucy Bloedorn.

The Club has been active in the community since 1990.  Other programs and service projects that the Club is involved in include recognizing a Student of the Month, offering a college scholarships, recognizing a crossing guard each year, and supporting other non-profits in West Bend that support positive, wholesome activities for youth in our community.


Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club with 93,000 adult and youth members in 3,200 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and throughout the world.  The Optimist Oratorical Contest is one of the organization’s most popular programs, with more than 2,000 clubs participating annually.

Carrying the Mission Statement “By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves,” Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year. To learn more about Optimist International, please call (314) 371-6000 or visit the organization’s website at


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