Junior William Scouten and sophomore Riana Shelley are the 2018 winners of the Columbia Breakfast Optimist Club's Oratorical Contest. This is the third year in a row that Heathwood students have won both the male and female categories in the competition and the second year in a row that William has been the male winner.
The topic of this year's competition was "Where are My Roots of Optimism?" William and Riana each were awarded $500 in scholarship money at the April 21 local contest and will advance to the statewide competition. In 2016, Heathwood student Justice Hill won the state competition and ultimately finished 3rd in the world.
Since its start in 1928, the Optimist Oratorical Contest has become the longest-running program sponsored by Optimist International. The contest is designed to empower youth to become effective communicators and leaders, provide a learning experience resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth, assist youth with the cost of higher education tuition, create a unique opportunity for youth to meet other young people from diverse backgrounds, and help youth gain skills needed to become confident public speakers.