By REBECCA HAZEN
The annual Optimist Club Oratorical Contest was Friday, Feb. 19, over Zoom. Students from all Dade County Schools participated. This year’s theme was Healing the World with Optimism.
The participants were: Elijah Garrett, Davis Elementary; Nayla Smith, Dade Middle School; Ambry Ann Cox, Dade County High School; Makaela Chance, Dade Middle School; Makensy Cooper, Davis Elementary; Evie Wood, Dade Elementary and Winters Garmany, Dade Elementary. Judges were Harry Abell, Jocelyn Sanders and Ollie Johnston.
Evie Wood came in first place, and Makaela Chance came in second place. These two girls will move on to the next level of the competition, the time of which is still to be determined. Nayla Smith came in third place.
“All the time you probably hear, ‘make the world a better place.’ But words are just words. If we actually want the world to change, then everybody needs to pitch in and do their part. I can guarantee that if everyone was optimistic, the world would look so much better. Optimism is staying positive, and looking on the bright side of things. We don’t have a lot of time in the world, so we need to be as optimistic as we can. The world is definitely full of bad things. There is always something that is going to get in your way because sin is in the world. There is divorce, you may lose somebody close to your heart, or you may get hurt. If you are optimistic through these times, you’ll handle the situation better,” Evie Wood said.
“How can we heal with world with optimism? I believe that our world critically needs a good dose of optimism right now. In the past world our year has gone dull and gray. So many people have lost their hope, their joy, their love, their optimism … Now is when we remember our experiences of the past year and look into the future with an optimistic point of view… Art cannot change events but it can affect people so that they are changed, enriched, ennobled, encouraged … The famous composer Leonard Bernstein once said, ‘Art in any form can change a person’s outlook on a subject.’ The fine arts in general have been a huge building block in the way I go about my day to day life. When paired with optimism, I think that the world can use arts now more than ever,” Makaela Chance said.
“… We are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in a huge number of deaths, as well as loss of jobs and income … There is a great amount of poverty, violence, crime, abuse and greed. All of these problems and numerous others show us that the world does need to be healed. Optimism is the doctrine that this world is the best possible world … The first verse of the Bible says ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ We have a creator who made everything we see as well as all of us … Because of this fact, we can display optimism and know that this is indeed the best possible world,” Elijah Garrett said.
“With an optimist mindset, you are most likely to reach your goal. Anything that seems impossible, can be possible. How do we heal the world with it? … People who are optimistic feel better about their health than pessimistic people who are equally as healthy. Science shows that if you are optimistic and positive about your life, it can increase your life span. It also helps with mental health … Optimism can make a huge impact on life, mainly because goals are reached with it. Positivity is brought in and moods are lifted up. Optimism is one of the biggest reasons people are happy and live productive lives,” Nayla Smith said.
“Close your eyes. Imagine you are riding a roller coaster…Now open your eyes. Most people fear a lack of control … just as they fear life. A pessimistic person closes their eyes and prays for all to be over. On the other hand, you have an optimistic person who lets go of the fear and embraces fear as part of the ride. Keeping a positive attitude allows you to take courage and the unknown and find ways to improve through mistakes. It is through this chosen optimism that one can heal the world. Optimism is arguably the most impactful personality trait to have, especially in the fragile world we live in today. Infected by a global pandemic, we are more in need of healing power and optimism than ever,” Ambry Ann Cox said.
“I learned from dictionary.com that the word optimism means the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil … This world is in a situation where COVID-19 is running wild. I for one believe that doctors are going to solve this problem. When new viruses were discovered like influenza, scientists were stumped about finding a cure. But doctors did not give up. I believe scientists should not give up on the COVID-19 cure. We just need to be optimistic and believe in them. If scientists weren’t optimistic they wouldn’t have been able to find a vaccine for the influenza virus. This is one example on how optimism can heal our world,” Makensy Cooper said.
“We need optimism to heal the world from the terrible effects from COVID-19. COVID has caused many deaths, businesses to shut down, people losing their jobs and kids not getting a good education. It has been horrible. The world needs optimism to deliver and make the vaccine, for the frontline workers caring for the patients and for the teachers giving their students a good education. If the world used optimism to do these things, we could get over COVID. Our world needs optimism to heal from the pandemic. We can all agree that 2020 was a very hard year with COVID. 2021 is a new year with new possibilities … Do your part and heal the world with optimism. Let’s get over this pandemic,” Winters Garmany said.
“You all did a wonderful job,” Optimist Club member Jane Dixon said. “It was wonderful to hear you all talk. If you represent us in the district competition, we want you to know how proud we are of you.”