Applications are being accepted for the annual Rome Noon Optimist Club Oratorical Contest to be held at 2 p.m. March 10 in the chapel at Garden Lakes Baptist Church, 2200 Redmond Circle. 

The national winner could receive scholarships totaling $22,000, according to Carol Willis, local Optimist contest chair.

Male and female students compete separately and the competition is open to any student who had not reached their 18th birthday prior to Oct. 1, 2017. There is no minimum age.

The Noon Optimist Club will host three levels of competition. The male and female winners selected March 10 will advance to the Northwest Georgia area competition April 14, also scheduled for Garden Lakes Baptist Church, and the two winners there will compete at the GateWay District level, comprised of Georgia and a portion of Tennessee. That contest will be held April 28 at the Marriott Courtyard nearing completion on West Third Street.

Contestants will be required to write with limited assistance a brief speech on the topic, “Where are My Roots of Optimism?” They will be judged on both content and delivery, said Willis.

The deadline for registering is March 2. Complete rules and applications may be obtained by emailing, or by telephone at 706-766-8880.