The Optimist Essay Contest is conducted every year by Optimist International, with competitions taking place at each local chapter. Students prepare 700-800 word written essays on the topic assigned by Optimist International. Our local club accepts essays from students in the local area and appoints a panel of judges to evaluate all entries, with medals and cash awards given to the best three essays. The students chosen for the awards and their parents are invited to a luncheon with the Redlands Optimist Club where the winning three essays are read. The top essay is forwarded to the Pacific Southeast division where it is eligible to compete for scholarships up to $2500. Eventually a single national winner is picked and honored at the Optimist International national meeting.