The Optimists of Arkansas City have announced a call for entries in the Optimist International Essay Contest. A local winner will receive a $500 scholarship.

The Optimist International Essay Contest gives young people the opportunity to express their views on a central topic, develop writing skills and compete for multiple college scholarships.

The essay contest is open to any Arkansas City student who is younger than 18 as of Oct. 1, 2016. The deadline for students to submit essays to the Optimists of Arkansas City will be 5 p.m. Feb. 27.

The 2016-17 topic is “Chasing Optimism in the Face of Challenges.”

Each student must write an original 700- to 800-word analytical essay on the topic, with limited help from others.

No poetry or works of fiction will be accepted. All established contest guidelines must be followed.

Each student must complete an application form, which can be found at, and submit proof of age by furnishing a copy of his or her birth certificate or passport. For more information about these requirements, contact Optimist Secretary Andrew Lawson at or (620) 441-4415.

The essays first will be judged at the club level by three qualified judges who are not acquainted with any of the students. Some of the judges may be Optimist Club members. Then each club’s winning essay is submitted to the district level, to be judged there by a panel of three non-Optimist judges.

The Optimist Club will give a monetary award of $500 to the local winner in the form of a scholarship to a college or university of his or her choice, in addition to a certificate. At the district level, the overall winner will be awarded a plaque and a $2,500 college scholarship funded by Optimist International.

“We encourage all local students to consider applying for this contest and submitting their essays as soon as possible,” said Optimist President Robert Frazee.

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About the Optimists of Arkansas City

The Optimist Club of Arkansas City works for the benefit of local youth and its members believe in the giving of themselves in service to others to help their community.

The club raises and donates approximately $20,000 per year to the Arkansas City community.

The Arkansas City chapter of the Optimist Club was founded in 1981 by charter members Tommy Aguinaga, Marshall Brentlinger, Jim Brown and John Postelwait. All four still are members today.

Other members include Steve Aguinaga, Bobie Baker, Dan Biddle, Felipe Escalante, Terry Flauding, President Bob Frazee, Allen Goff, Gary Hale, Garrett Heilig, Secretary Andrew Lawson, Treasurer Jay Warren and Jerry Young.

The club was the February 2016 recipient of the Community Cornerstone Award. It is known best for its pork burger concession stand at the annual Arkalalah Festival and the Last Run Car Show.

Funds raised by the Optimists of Arkansas City, including all proceeds from the sale of pork burgers, go to support the youth of Arkansas City and other valuable programs in the community, including:

  • Little League football, baseball, softball, basketball and soccer;
  • Kids Voting Kansas;
  • The GE Volunteers Christmas Fund;
  • The Arkansas City High School booster club.

The Optimists of Arkansas City cosponsor the annual Sgt. Jerry Mills Jr. Fishing Derby and Bicycle Safety Rodeo events, and also assist the ACHS After Prom Committee, Boy Scouts Troop 328 and Cowley College’s ACES program with annual fundraiser meals.

The Optimists have sponsored three outdoor movies at Wilson Park since 2015.

The Optimists of Arkansas City financed approximately $3,000 of the startup equipment costs for the Arkansas City Police Department’s SafeAssured ID system for children, and annually honor an area Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his or her exemplary service.

The Optimists have donated hot dogs, pork burgers, other food items, and manpower to the ACHS band, After Prom, ACPD’s summer DARE Camp, City of Arkansas City employee appreciation events, the DARE Lock-in, the Fraternal Order of Police fireworks show, the annual National Night Out kickoff party, the Northwest Community Center and many other community projects throughout the year.

The local club’s meetings generally are held at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Daisy Mae’s Café, 511 W. Madison Ave. Its next meeting will be Feb. 28, however.

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To become a member of the Optimists of Arkansas City and make a difference for our youth, call (620) 741-1082 or (620) 441-3757, or visit

About Optimist International

Optimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local clubs whose members work each day to make the future brighter by bringing out the best in children, their communities and themselves. The purposes of Optimist International are:

  • To develop optimism as a philosophy of life, utilizing the tenets of the Optimist Creed;
  • To promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs;
  • To inspire respect for the law;
  • To promote patriotism, and work for international accord and friendship among all people;
  • To aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world.

By meeting the needs of young people in communities worldwide, Optimist clubs have been “Bringing Out the Best in Kids” since 1919, according the Optimist International website.

Optimist Clubs conduct positive service projects aimed at providing a helping hand to youth.

There are 93,000 individual adult and youth members who belong to 3,200 autonomous clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico, and throughout the world.

Optimists conduct 65,000 service projects each year, serving 6 million young people, and they spend $78 million on their communities annually.

Optimist International is recognized worldwide as the premier volunteer organization that values all children and helps them to develop to their full potential. For more information, visit

This information was provided by Optimists of Arkansas City Secretary Andrew Lawson.