Optimist International, with funding from the Optimist International Foundation, sponsors an essay contest with a grand prize of a $2,500 scholarship to the Ohio District winner. Boys and girls under the age of 18 are invited to submit an essay on a pre-assigned topic during the months of January and February each year. One winner will advance to zone and then the finals at the district. The Essay Contest is sponsored by Centerville Noon Optimist Club to give young people the opportunity to write about their own opinions regarding the world in which we live. The approach can encompass a young person's personal experience, the experience of their country or a more historical perspective. In additional to developing skills for written expression, participants also have the opportunity to win a college scholarship.