The Optimists of Arkansas City have issued a call for entries in the 2020 Optimist International Essay Contest. A local winner will receive a $500 scholarship. The Optimist International Essay Contest gives young people the opportunity to express their views on a central topic, develop writing skills and compete for multiple college scholarships. The essay contest is open to any Arkansas City student who is younger than 19 as of Oct. 1, 2019. The deadline for students to submit essays to the Optimists of Arkansas City will be noon Feb. 25. The 2019-2020 essay topic is “Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams You iMagine?” Each student must write an original 700- to 800-word analytical essay on the topic, with only limited guidance from others. No poetry or works of fiction will be accepted. All guidelines must be followed. Each student must complete an application form, which can be downloaded at, and submit proof of his or her age by furnishing a copy of his or her birth certificate or passport. For more information about these requirements, contact Optimist Vice President Andrew Lawson at (620) 441-4415. The Optimist Club will give a monetary award of $500 to the local winner in the form of a scholarship to a college or university of his or her choice, in addition to a certificate. At the district level, the overall winner will be awarded a plaque and a $2,500 college scholarship funded by Optimist International.