Press Release - GSSM Students Place in Optimist Club Oratorical Contest

March 13, 2020

Two GSSM Students Place First and Second in Optimist Club Oratorical Speech Contest

Hartsville, SC – GSSM junior, Anna Caddell of Edgefield County and senior Colyn Morris of Barnwell County won first a and second place prizes, respectively, in the Sumter, South Carolina Optimist Club Oratorical Speech Contest.

Competing with nine other students, they spoke on the theme, “Imagine a world without borders.” Anna’s first-place prize included a $250 college scholarship. Both Anna and Colyn will compete in early April in the District Competition. 

In the District Competition, students have the opportunity to win a first-place scholarship of $2,500, a second-place scholarship of $1,500, or a third-place scholarship of $1,000. The winner of the District level will be sent to the Optimist International Regional/World Championship for a chance to win an additional $5,000 or up to another $15,000 scholarship.

The Optimist Club Oratorical Contest is one of many opportunities we share with students to earn additional scholarship dollars,” said Dr. Jenifer Blair, GSSM Director of College Counseling. “We are pleased Anna and Colyn took the initiative to not only showcase their public speaking skills but compete for scholarships as well.

The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives youngsters the chance to speak to the world. More than $150,000 in college scholarships funded by the Optimist International Foundations is awarded annually from this program.

Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club organizations with over 80,000 adult and youth members in almost 3,000 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and throughout the world. The Optimist Oratorical Contest is one of the organization’s most popular programs, with more than 2,000 clubs participating annually. 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 Optimist International, please call (314) 371-6000 or visit the organization’s website at


Founded in 1988, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics is a nationally recognized school serving over four hundred of the state's most accomplished STEM students in the 10th through 12th grades through its residential and virtual programs. GSSM offers college-level courses and experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at its campus in Hartsville. The school also delivers virtual curricula in engineering and STEM disciplines to students in partner school districts throughout the state. GSSM’s dynamic outreach programs, including science summer camps and teacher training, impact over 5,000 K-12 students every year. Learn more by visiting

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