HOWELL – Several students were recently honored for placing in the 6th Annual Howell Optimist Club Essay and Oratorical Contests.
Every year, the contest is held in partnership between the Howell Optimist Club, Howell Alliance, and Howell Township Public Schools. Farmingdale School has participated the past two years. The goal of the contests is to tie the Alliance’s prevention and well-being mission to the contests’ focus on optimism.
This year, the essay prompt was “Who is an everyday hero that brings out the optimism in you?” The oratorical topic was “discovering the optimism within me.”
The Howell Optimist Club winners advance to the district competitions, and winners from there go to the regional competitions, then possibly on to the international competitions. The scholarship awards grow as the contest level advances.
For the past two years, winning oratorical contestant Eliana Mandelberg of Howell High School returned as an oratorical contest judge. Once a contestant wins at the district level, they cannot compete again at any level.
Jane Losinger, Supervisor of Literacy, Gifted and Talented Programming, and District Assessments for the Howell Township Public Schools and her administrative assistant, Ramey Allen make this program possible, coordinating all of the students’ paperwork, submissions, and criteria compliance. The Howell Optimist Club’s president is John Alliano.
For 2023, two oratorical winners and one essay winner will advance to the district competition. There was a total of 76 essay entries and 32 speech entries.
Essay contest winners:
- 1st place: Cindy Wu, Middle School South (advances to district)
- 2nd place: Sofia Mendez, Middle School South
- 3rd Place: Sandra Abuelyamin, Middle School South
Oratorical contest winners:
- 1st place: Justin Douglas, Middle School North (advances to district)
- 2nd place: Alexa Leone, Middle School North (advances to district)
- 3rd place: Michael Natilli, Farmingdale School
The Howell Alliance sponsors the club level awards for the top three essay winners and top three oratorical winners.
“Every year, we look forward to appreciating the writing and speaking talents of our youth contestants. The annual essay and oratorical contests would not be possible without the full support Howell Township Public Schools’ administrators and teachers give us,” said Howell Alliance Coordinator Christa Riddle, who also is a member of the Howell Optimist Club. “The contests take a lot of time and dedication from October through February from the Howell Optimist Club, Howell Alliance, and Howell Township Public Schools, which shows the power of community collaboration and support our youth to achieve, pursue their goals, and find pleasure and accomplishment in the arts of writing and public speaking. We couldn’t be prouder of our contestants and winners who will represent Howell well at the district contests and beyond!”
For more details on the contests, visit optimist.org/member/scholarships1.cfm. For more information on the Howell Alliance, visit twp.howell.nj.us/169/Alliance.