Essay Contest

“Reaching Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism” Essay Contest

Optimism can unlock your dreams for your future. If you are under the age of 19, and live in or around Santa Paula, this might be the opportunity for you to find out! If you write an original 700-800 word essay, you will be eligible for a medallion from the Santa Paula Chapter of Optimists International. If your essay is chosen as the winner here in Santa Paula, your essay will move on and compete for a $2500 prize with essays at the Optimist District level. 

This year’s theme for your essay is: “Reaching Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism”

This contest is open to students 19 years and younger in high school or middle school as of October 1, 2020, and who are not enrolled as a degree-seeking student at a post-secondary educational institution.

Entry forms and rules will be available at the Blanchard Library for download or drive-by pickup [ Pickups can be scheduled by calling (805) 525-3615 and selecting OPTION 2 during library open hours], the Boys and Girls Club, and by emailing the Essay Chair at

Click to download PDF entry form

The fine print: All entries must be emailed to the Essay Chair or hand-delivered to the Santa Paula Times, 120 Davis Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060 by or before 5:00 PM PST on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. The Times office is open weekdays during business hours. Entries received at the Times or by the Essay Chairman after that time will not qualify.

Your essay title, footnotes and/or bibliography are not included in the final word count. Hyphenated words are counted as one (1) word. Words must be counted manually, not with a word processor. Your entry must be typed or legibly hand-written, double-spaced. Print writing is preferred. You will have to submit proof of your age in the form of a copy of a birth certificate or passport information page with your entry, and entry form. Spelling and grammar count! Any additional questions should be directed to any Optimist member, emailed to, or to the Essay Chair at

So, get your entry form and complete rules right away. Start dreaming and writing now. February 10, 2021 will come sooner than you think!

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