Programs and Events

Oratorical Contest

The Optimist International (OI) Club Oratorical Contest is the largest oratorical contest in the U.S.

Started in 1928 and longest running program in OI,  more than 2,000 clubs participate with more than $150,000 funded by OI and at least double that by the clubs themselves.

Winners at the Club level receive medallions plus a cash award. Zone winners receive a plaque and certificate. Districts have the opportunity to provide two $2,500 scholarships or a first place scholarship of $2,500, a second place scholarship of $1,500, and a third place scholarship of $1,000.

Regional and World Contest Scholarships are awarded to each Regional winner in United States in the amount of at least $5000.In addition, scholarships in the amounts of $15,000, $10,000, $5,000 will be given to the first, second, and third place World Champions, respectively.

The Zionsville Optimist Club Oratorical Contest is usually held in March and winners advance to the Zone Level.

3rd Grade History Program

The Zionsville 3rd grade history lessons are taught by a cadre of volunteer parents and grandparents. Each volunteer attends a monthly training and spends 45 minutes in class each month with hands on lessons about Zionsville history. Real artifacts from the Sullivan Munce Cultural Center collection supplement the history lessons.


The year-long study culminates with a walking tour of downtown Zionsville and visit to Sullivan Munce. Each student receives a lanyard with laminated history cards so they can become tour guides for their own family members as well. The Zionsville Optimist Club has supported this program financially and with volunteers for several years.

Hit the Bricks
Hit the Bricks

The Zionsville Optimist Club (ZOC), will hold our 39th annual 2021 HIT-THE-BRICKS 5K Run/Walk & Youth 3K” on Saturday, October 9, 8:05 AM at the Zionsville Community High School. HIT-THE-BRICKS (HTB) is truly a tradition in Zionsville and the Optimist Club’s biggest fundraiser of the year”, says Tim Ottinger, ZOC President and Co- Chair of this year’s event. “And thirty eight years without rain!”

This year we have two important updates.

The soon to open Overly-Worman Park will surely be a crowing achievement and capstone project at the south end of the popular Rail Trail that runs through Zionsville and Boone County. Ian Stewart, ZOC member and HTB Co-Chair states “ We have dedicated funds to sponsor a Bicycle and Water Station near the park entrance for all to use. The water station will serve all including pets and is ADA compliant, a bicycle repair station for quick fixes and (4) bicycle racks. We can’t say enough about this new park design and all it will offer local residents from surrounding communities”.

With the growing popularity of running in the under 14 age group, Mr. Stewart with the Zionsville Optimist Club is coordinating with local middle school coaches and staff to dedicate a 3K route for under age 14 only, who will be timed and receive separate recognition from the 5K.

Both courses start at south side of Zionsville Community High School (ZCHS) and runs the Rail Trail, downtown through the Village on Main Street and back to the ZCHS for the Finish. The section on Zionsville’s cobblestone Main Street derived our “Hit-the-Bricks” title of the first event in 1981. At HIT-THE- BRICKS, there are always serious contenders as well as casual runners & walkers out on a beautiful autumn morning. There is huge number of youth in our crowd from all ages, elementary through college.

Elizabeth and Joe Demaree, local residents and owner of The Scoop, and last year’s largest sponsor says “I just love the Optimist Club. My support was direct from the heart as they do so much for our local youth. The ZOC programs are many, always with focus and support to our local youth”.

Prizes are given to the overall 1st-3rd place finishers in the 5K as well as first place in several age categories in that event. In addition, recognition and shirts will be given to all under age 14 youth who participate in the 3K Youth Run. To find out more and register, visit HERE or email at [email protected]. Registration is also available starting at 7:00 AM the morning of October 3.