Model Middle School eighth grader Sara Grace Abernathy recently won the Optimist International GATEway District Oratorical Contest. 

While representing the Rome Noon Optimist Club, Sara Grace placed first place in the District finals held in Tucker, Georgia on April 24th after hundreds of students throughout Georgia and Eastern Tennessee over the last couple of months have competed in local club contests and district level regional contests. 

This year the first and second place winners in the local Rome club contest — Sara Grace Abernathy and Natalie Long (both Model Middle eighth graders) advanced to one of 4 district regional contests and placed first and second place in that contest which advanced them to the district finals made up of 8 contestants.  The was the first time that the Rome Noon Optimist Club had both of its club contest winners make it to the District finals.   Sara Grace Abernathy now advances to one of 8 Regional Contests where the winner of each will win a $5,000 scholarship and will advance to the World Championship. 

The Regional Contests and the World Championship will be held virtually and live streamed on July 22 and 23, 2021.  The top three winners of the World Championship will win scholarships — $5,000 (3rd place), $10,000 (2nd place) and $15,000 (1st place). Fittingly, the theme for this year’s Oratorical Contest is “Healing the World with Optimism.” 

Since 1928, many students around the world have been introduced to the world of public speaking through the Optimist International Oratorical Contest. This year’s contest will once again show the world that even in difficult times Optimist Clubs and members are continuing to serve youth.

 Optimist International, founded in 1919, is a service organization serving youth and communities around the globe. It has nearly 70,000adult and youth members in more than 2,500 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and many other nations throughout the world.  Carrying the motto “Bringing Out the Best in Youth, in our Communities, and in Ourselves,”

Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year. To learn more about the Rome Noon Optimist Club visit the club’s website or the Optimist International website