The Optimists of Arkansas City have issued a call for entries in the 2018 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, 2017.

The deadline for students to submit essays to the Optimists of Arkansas City will be noon Feb. 27.

The 2017-18 topic is “Can Society Function Without Respect?” Each student must write an original 700- to 800-word analytical essay on the topic, with only limited guidance from other people.

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 downloaded at, and submit proof of age by furnishing a copy of his or her birth certificate or passport. For more information about these requirements, please contact Optimist Secretary Andrew Lawson at or (620) 441-4415.

The essays first will be judged at the club level by at least three judges who are not acquainted with any of the contestants. Some of the judges may be Optimist Club members. Then the club’s winning essay will be 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 their time and talents 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, Bob Baker, Dan Biddle, Mike Crandall, Felipe Escalante, Terry Flauding, President Robert Frazee, Allen Goff, Gary Hale, Garrett Heilig, Secretary Andrew Lawson, Dale Smith, Jason Smith, Terry Stephenson, 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 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:

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

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 their annual fundraiser meals.

The local Optimists also have sponsored four outdoor movies at Wilson Park since 2015.

The Optimists of Arkansas City paid about $3,000 of the startup equipment costs for the Arkansas City Police Department’s SafeAssured ID system for children and continue to purchase supplies for it.

They also honor an area law enforcement officer each year for exemplary service. In 2017, the club resumed sponsoring an annual scholarship essay contest. An oratorical contest also is planned in 2019.

The Optimists have donated hot dogs, pork burgers, other food items, and manpower to the ACHS bands, 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 regular meeting will be Feb. 27.

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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 strive to make the future brighter by bringing out the best in children, their communities, and themselves by providing hope and positive vision. 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 across the world, 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 in their communities annually.

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