Youth ID

The Youth ID program provides fingerprints and pictures of children to the parents and school. The program began in the early 80’s. Over 2000 children from Pocomoke to Selbyville are processed each year. Each Monday from September to December the Optimists visit a school or head start to process the children who have returned a permission slip from the parents. Over 55,000 children have been fingerprinted in over 30 years. See our Gallery for recent photos from our recent session at the Pocomoke Elementary School.

Oratorical Contest

Each year Optimist International selects a topic for the contest. The club has held an oratorical contest each year since 1973. The club has had six state winners who received $3000 college scholarships. Over 75 children participate each year. Over 30 Optimists and 40 community volunteers help conduct the program. Judges, time keepers, chairmen, sgt at arms and food committee all make the program a success.

The 2019 Winners of our Oratorical Contest are:

  • 1st Jessica Beck - grade 8
  • 2nd Abigail Melito - grade 7
  • 3rd Rina Dirickson - grade 8 Please visit our Gallery on the Homepage.

Download PDF Download PDF Mail applications to PO Box 1403 | Ocean Pines, MD 21811 | Due Date: April 11, 2019

Essay Contest

Over 50 children participate in the essay contest. Optimist International selects each year’s topic. The children submit essays for the judges to review. The winning essay is sent to the state. We have had two state winners receive a scholarship. Over 300 children have submitted essays over the past 20 years.

Winners of the 2019 Essay Contest were all students from Stephen Decatur High School. First Place: Dori Krasner Second Place: Joshua Miller Third Place: Lydia Woodley (First place in 2018)


Each year funds are raised to present scholarship to high school seniors from Worcester County schools. $10,000 is awarded to five children at both Pocomoke and Snow Hill High Schools. Over $200,000 has been awarded to these kids in 10 years. The program was started at Stephen Decatur High in 1989. $40,000 is awarded to Stephen Decatur High School seniors each year. More is awarded if additional funds are available. Over $1,950,000 has been awarded to SDHS graduates since 1989. To apply, please visit your school’s guidance office for consideration.

STAR Breakfast

Students striving for recognition are selected each year from nominations by teachers at Stephen Decatur High School. They are selected based on their contribution to the school community. Optimist, county officials, school officials and parents join the awardees for a special breakfast to highlight their accomplishments. Over 500 students have been recognized through this program. The 2019 STAR Breakfast occurred April 24th.

WeXl Banquet

Each May the club recognizes the honor students from Stephen Decatur High School. A banquet is held at the convention center. Students, parents and families, elected officials and education officials from the school and county attend. Over 1000 attend each year. Students who earn straight A’s receive special recognition. The program started in 1985 and over 17,000 students have been recognized. The 2019 WeXL Banquet is scheduled for May 14th, 6pm at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

Worcester County High School Art Contest

Students from all high schools in the county submit paintings and drawings for review and selection of winners. This program was established 15 years ago and we have had over 800 students submit art in these competitions. The contest offers more than $1400 in cash awards to the winners each year. Fine art teachers from all high schools submit a selection of paintings and drawings for the competition. All artwork is on exhibit during the month of February at the Worcester County Arts Council located in downtown Berlin. The exhibit is open to the general public.

Please visit the Gallery on our Homepage to see photographs from this years entries. 2019 Winners; 1st place Sara Hancock, 2nd place Hannah Perdue, 3rd place Caleb King. Congratuations to all that participated!

Winter Wear for Kids

Children participating in our fingerprint program, or identified by teachers as in need, are provided coats, gloves or hats as needed. About 75 kids are helped each winter.