Tobias Scott Wins Optimist Oratorical

Katharine Steffes (left) and Michael Brent (right) took third place in the Optimist oratorical contest. Julia Abbot was second and Tobias Scott was first.

Scott and Abbot Advance to Area Contest

“. . . .Speaking of optimism and reality, optimism shapes reality. And while almost all of your life is outside of your control, from your nature to your nurture, you can control your optimism,” Optimist oratorical contest winner Tobias Scott, said. “And this optimism seems like such a small part of your identity. Small like a pebble. But a true optimist knows how to take this pebble, this morsel of optimism, this one element under their control, and toss it into a pond. And watch as the ripples expand outwards, encompassing not only your entire being, but the entire world around you.”

Scott, a Palisades High junior, won a $200 scholarship and now advances to the Area contest later this month. Second place went to PaliHi’s Julia Abbot, who won $100 and will also compete at the next level.

PaliHi’s Michael Brent and Paul Revere’s Katharine Steffes tied for third and each won $50 at the March 21 contest, held at the Palisades Lutheran Church.

Other contestants competing in the annual contest sponsored by the Palisades Optimist Club were Ava Baak, Anirudh Chatterjee, Troy Haddadi and Annabelle Parsk.

“All of the speeches were beautifully written and delivered,” said contest organizer Susie DeWeese, a Palisadian and retired owner of Speakers Corner, a speaker and entertainment bureau.

“Three years ago, PaliHi’s Daniel Gottesman, who is now at Harvard University, went to the Area contest, won, then went to the District contest and also won,” DeWeese said. “Daniel then went all the way to the Nationals in St. Louis and didn’t win but gave the best speech of his life, he told the Optimists. We were proud of him.”

Students from both private and public schools were invited to participate and were required to write and present a 4- to 5-minute speech on this year’s theme: “Is There a Fine Line Between Optimism and Reality?”

The judges were 1) Naidu Permaul, a resident and Optimist Club member; 2) Palisadian Bob Klein, CEO of Saint John’s Health Center Foundation; and 3) Chris Lee, the president, CEO and Founder of CAL Entertainment, a leading speakers bureau/agency.

Also attending was Lorra-Lea Bartlett, the current Oratorical Chair for the Optimist Pacific Southwest District.

As winner Scott explained, “If optimism is an outlook and you control your outlook, being an optimist is one of the very few decisions a human really gets to make in their life. You can’t control the way you were born, and you can’t control the way you were raised, but I believe that there is an external force of human consciousness that allows a person to become an optimist . . .”

Judges for the oratorical contest were (left to right) Naidu Permaul, Chris Lee and Bob Klein. Contest organizer was Susie DeWeese.

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