Matthew Newman, a 13-year-old homeschooler, was recently honored at the end of a summer barbeque as the proud first-place winner of this year’s Michigan Optimist Club’s Oratorical Contest. After winning the boys’ regional title on March 3, Newman advanced to the state competition held May 16 in Port Huron.
In addition to laying claim to the title of state champion for the boys’ division, he was awarded a $1,500 scholarship.
“Simply put, Matthew is a gifted speaker,” stated Tina Schmutz of the Grand Rapids Optimist Club, Newman’s sponsoring organization.
In the finals, Newman was pitted against competitors all older than himself. The speech had to center around the theme of “For me, optimism is…”