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Optimist Clubs recognize young public speakers in Forsyth County
The female finalists in the 2016 Optimist Oratorical Contest are Reagan Smith, left, of Vickery Creek Middle and Morgan Champion of North Forsyth High. - photo by For the FCN

FORSYTH COUNTY — Four young orators were recently selected to represent Forsyth County in the 2016 Optimist Oratorical Contests. 

They are the finalists in the countywide competition, sponsored by the Sawnee-Cumming and Forsyth-Cumming Optimist Clubs, which began with more than 4,500 students.

The top two girls, Reagan Smith of Vickery Creek Middle and Morgan Champion of North Forsyth High, and top two boys, Charlie Dougal of Pinecrest Academy and Raymond Qin of South Forsyth High, move on to compete in the zone competition. They each won $500 awards. 

If they win at the zone competition, they advance to the area and state competitions. Winners at the state level receive $2,500 college scholarships.

The competition is open to students from all Forsyth middle and high schools. A separate competition allows fifth-graders to gain experience.

Speeches cover a variety of subjects. This year the students spoke on "How my best brings out the best in others.”

Established in 1928, the contest is the longest running Optimist program, according to Jan Norman, oratorical chair of the Sawnee-Cumming club.

"The Forsyth County competition is the largest in the world thanks to the commitment and efforts of our teachers, administrators and club members," she said.

"The students were impressive and inspiring. And you never know what doors the oratorical contests might open for them.”