The Optimist Club of Sussex County is encouraging area students to contemplate the phrase “Reaching Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism” as part of the Optimist International Essay Contest for the 2020-2021 school year. Information regarding the Essay Contest has been sent to all Sussex County high school guidance departments and is open to students in Sussex County who are younger than 19 as of Oct. 1.

The Optimist Club will judge the local students’ essays, based on the theme of “Reaching Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism” and determine the top three Sussex County winners. Winners will receive a medallion and monetary award, and the winning essay will be sent to the district level, where college scholarships are available for top winners. The deadline for entries is Nov. 16.

“Young students today have so many fresh ideas about the world and their future,” Club President Catherine Hartman said. “As Optimists, it is our goal to encourage them and do what we can to bring out the best in each of them. This gives them a wonderful opportunity to tap into their creativity and pursue possible scholarships at the same time.”

The Optimist Club of Sussex County has been participating in the Optimist Essay Contest for three years and has been active in the community since 2017. Other programs and service projects that the club is involved in include the Optimist Oratorical Contest, Youth Appreciation Day and Respect for Law programs.

Students wishing to participate in the Essay Contest can find out more about the contest at Optimist International at and by contacting the local club at

Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club organizations, with more than 80,000 adult and youth members in almost 3,000 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and throughout the world. Carrying the motto “Bringing Out the Best in Youth, in our Communities, and in Ourselves,” Optimists conduct service projects that reach more than 6 million young people each year. To learn more about Optimist International, visit the organization’s website at