Incoming first year student Caleb Smith ’22 can now add the title of “world champion” to his resume.
Smith earned a spot in the 2018 Optimist International Oratorical World Championship in St. Louis, Mo. over June 28-29, and emerged the winner after two days of competition. He first had to win zone, district and state titles in the competition before qualifying for the world championship.
In all, 54 students from eight different countries squared off in nine regional rounds at the world championship, with winners from each region advancing to the final level. Smith advanced out of the highly-competitive Southeast Region. The theme for the speaking competition was, “What are My Roots of Optimism.”
“It is humbling and overwhelming,” said Smith. “To have been able to compete against such talented people from around the world was great. To be named the 2018 World Champion is a lot to take in. I am beyond grateful to Optimist International for giving me a platform to share my thoughts and my voice and for giving other young people the chance to do the same.”
Smith won $15,000 in scholarship money for the championship, in addition to $5,000 earned for being a regional winner, and $2,500 as a state winner. He graduated from the Charleston County School of the Arts in South Carolina, and represented the West Ashley Optimist Club at the world championship. Smith is an Oglethorpe Theatre scholarship recipient.
Watch Caleb’s speech:
St Lawrence regional contest 10:00 Finals