Optimist Reno Area Scholarships

Since 1993, The Optimist Club of Reno has awarded seventy-five $1,600.00 scholarships, worth $112,500.00. The $1,600.00 scholarships are awarded to 8th-grade students who hope to pursue a college education at the University of Nevada. The scholarships are awarded in the eighth grade to serve as an incentive for the students to excel in high school and continue on to college and receive their degrees. The Optimist Club is partnering with the University of Nevada College of Engineering, Civil Engineering Department to facilitate the interested scholarship recipients’ transition into the engineering field. The Optimist Club is also partnering with the Children’s Cabinet, with a scholarship set-aside. Five $1600 scholarships will be awarded to students who show desire and commitment to go to college or technical training school.

Step 1:  Download the 2020 Scholarship Application
Step 2:  Gather all requirements and scan the completed application to

2018 Deadline:  February 21, 2020

Award Announcements:  March 16th 2020

Scholarship Banquet:  TBD

2017 Scholarship Awards


Marissa Canfield
Christopher Howe
Bryar Fancher
Emmanual Alvarez
Rylie Bowen
Nevan McIlwen

Here are some photos from our 2017 scholarship awards.

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2015 recipients:

  • Nanami Duncan
  • Allyssa Gail Corpuz
  • Savannah Clark
  • Devin Dinius -Paul S. Ferrari scholarship recipient
  • Emma Gill
  • Logan Gribas
  • Faith Ambler

2014 recipients:

  • Jesus Alamilla
  • Nancy Galvan
  • Nicole Garcia
  • Benjamin Reynolds
  • Ana Vazquez
  • Madison White
  • Preston White

2013 recipient:

  • Zachary Frewert

The Optimist Club of Reno is encouraging area students to speak their minds about the topic “How My Best Brings Out the Best in Others” as part of the Optimist International Oratorical Contest for the 2015-2016 year.

The Oratorical Contest is open to students under 18 as of October 1, 2015. Students are required to prepare a 4- to 5-minute speech on the topic. This contest is designed to assist youth in gaining public speaking experience and provide them with an opportunity to compete for a scholarship.

The Optimist Club will judge the local students’ speeches based on content and presentation to determine the top winners.  Winners will receive a medallion, certificate, and a monetary award 0f $100 for First, $50 Second, and $25 for Third Place.   The winning speeches will advance to the Zone level, and possibly the District level for the opportunity to win college scholarships.  Winners of the District level will be eligible to compete in a regional competition in St. Louis Missouri at Saint Louis University.  Winners of the regional contests will compete in the World Championship also held at Saint Louis University.  Students could win up to $22,500 in scholarships!

For an Official Application and Complete List of Rules, please click on the link below:

2015-16 Official Application and Rules

The deadline to hand in speeches is February 15, 2016.

Optimists Create Opportunities for students.

Annually, the Optimist International of Reno organization provides multiple opportunities to recognize exceptional middle and high school students as they display prowess in essay writing, oratorical speeches, and academic potential.

We seek partnership with those counselors, teachers, and organization leaders that can motivate students to believe in their work and themselves. Through our Optimistic Opportunities Program, we look forward to receiving applications from students of diverse backgrounds and needs for scholarships and awards ranging from $1000 to $2500 annually.

Community Recognition

Each year Optimist recognizes outstanding people running programs that help the community.

Respect the Law

Teacher of the Year

Other Grants


Oratorical Contest: $1000 Club Award and $2500 District Award

Essay Contest: $1000 Club Award and $2500 District Award