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.

The Zionsville Optimist Club (ZOC), will hold our 38th annual 2020 HIT-THE-BRICKS 5K Run/Walk” on Saturday, October 3 at the Zionsville Community High School. HIT-THE-BRICKS is truly a tradition in Zionsville and the Optimist Club’s biggest fundraiser of the year”, says Tim Ottinger, Chair of this year’s event. “And thirty seven years without rain!”
Start the day at HIT-THE-BRICKS, then support the ZFD at their Pancake Breakfast and close out a perfect day at the annual St. Alphonsus’ Oktoberfest all supporting local charities
Our 5K course starts at 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 serious contenders as well as a fun family event. There is huge number of youth in our crowd from all ages, elementary through college.
Elizabeth Demaree, local resident, 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 with focus and support to our local youth. 
Prizes are given to the first place finishers for men & women with recognition for the fastest in fourteen male & female age categories. To find out more and register, visit or email at [email protected]. Registration is also available starting at 7:00 AM the morning of October 3. Please know it is our hope to conduct the 2020 “HIT-THE-BRICKS” as a live event. If necessary because of local and CDC COVID-19 guidelines we may have to cancel, change or postpone the format. Updates in the weeks ahead will be provided on and