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MW freshman wins ‘state championship of ‘The Optimist Oratorical Contest’

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Student, teacher and family

The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives youngsters the chance to speak to the world. More than $150,000 in college scholarships funded by the Optimist International Foundations is awarded annually from this program.

First conducted in 1928, this is the second most popular Optimist International Program. Nearly 2,000 clubs participate in this program each year. The winners at the Club level receive medallions and Zone winners receive a plaque. Districts have the opportunity to provide a first place scholarship of $2,500, a second place scholarship of $1,500, and a third place scholarship of $1,000.

MW freshman Pooja Muthuraj (Henrico) began her journey through the Optimist International Program under the sponsorship of her former teacher Ms. Joan Hodges from Moody Middle. Last weekend Pooja nailed her speech and won the state level Optimist Oratorical Contest held at the Richmond Sheridan Hotel. The competition theme this year was “Is There a Fine Line Between Optimism and Reality?” Pooja told the judges, “optimism doesn’t just denote being 100% happy all the time.  It simply means acknowledging that there is a lesson in every experience, whether that be good or bad, happy or sad.  It’s taking that lesson, and making it a part of who we are – gaining something from every loss.”

With this win, Pooja was awarded a $2,500 scholarship and moves on to an all-expenses-paid trip to regionals at the Center for Global Citizenship at St. Louis University from July 18-20, 2019 and a chance to win an additional $5,000 scholarship.  After the regional level is the World level competition, where the first place winner will receive a $15,000 scholarship, the second place winner a $10,000 scholarship, and the third place winner a $5,000 scholarship.

Congratulations and great job, Pooja!

Students at awards ceremony