On Saturday, April 07, 2018, the Taylorville Optimist Club hosted the 2018 Southern Region Oratorical Contest. Six participants had advanced from local club competition in Belleville, Greenville, Highland, and Quincy. Those six qualifiers delivered their speeches to the assembled group of family, friends, and Optimist. Judging was performed by three members of the Communication Department at Milliken University, headed by Dr. Nancy Curtin, Adjunct professor Melinda Reuter, and Adjunct professor Candace Baker. All judges agreed that the competition gets better and stronger each of the three years that they have judged.
Winners this year were first place Taina Estevez of Greenville, and second place to Trent Lammers of Highland. Each contestant will advance to the District Finals in Bloomington on April 28th. The winner at the District level will receive a $2500 scholarship, and advance to the next level of competition. The eventual winner at the International level will have accumulated $22, 500 in scholarships. Although no students showed an interest in the oratorical or essay contests this year from the Christian County schools, the Optimist remain hopeful that next year the response will be much more positive.