Three JHS Students Win 2016 Optimist Oratorical Contest

Twelve Jamestown High School students participated in the 2016 Optimist Oratorical Contest at the Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys & Girls Club.  JHS junior, Kaitlin Healy won first place, JHS junior, Lucas Lassinger placed second, and JHS freshman, Sarah Russo placed third.

The topic for this year’s speech was: “How my best brings out the best in others.” Each written speech had to be memorized and fall within a four to five minute range. The twelve students who competed were freshmen: Ellen Cross, Carley Westphal, Gigi Mead, Sarah Russo; juniors: Marty Dibble, Lucas Lassinger, Izzy Kulakowski, Kaitlin Healy, and Tyra Sundquist; and seniors: Erros Quinones, Skylar Hillman, and Mitchel Smigel. All are students in Barbi Price’s College Level Public Speaking and English 9 AT classes at JHS.

Mrs. Price remarked, “We are so grateful that the Optimist Club provides this opportunity for our students to craft speeches, memorize them, and deliver them before a panel of judges. It’s a valuable ‘real life’ experience, and the representatives from JHS comported themselves beautifully. I was pleased to hear some of the mothers in the audience say that they had never seen this poised, polished, presentational side of their children before!”

Kaitlin, Lucas, and Mrs. Price will travel to Lockport on Saturday, February 27 to compete at the “zone” level. The ultimate prize is a $22,000 college scholarship.

According to winner Kaitlin Healy, “The Optimist Oratorical contest gave me the opportunity to practice all that I’ve learned in Public Speaking class in a comfortable and rewarding atmosphere. Before my Public Speaking class, I believed that there was nothing more for me to improve on. Throughout the semester, however, I learned that I had obstacles to overcome. I’m really looking forward to competing in the Lockport contest.”

Lucas Lassinger added, “This Oratorical contest allowed me to explore and develop my public speaking skills in front of a new and larger audience. I am thankful that our local Optimist Club sponsors this event, and I hope to represent Jamestown with great pride at the next level of competition.”

Freshman, Sarah Russo commented, “I really enjoyed this experience because it made me more confident. I never would have been able to do it without Mrs. Price, so I owe her a huge thank you.”

Optimist Clubs are dedicated to “Bringing Out the Best in Kids” and do their part through community service programs. Since each club is autonomous and run by members in their community, Optimists have the unique flexibility to serve the youth of their area in any way they see fit. Optimist Clubs see a need in their community and react to it. For more information, contact Cindy Conner at

posted on 01/15/2016 - filed under: Academics, Community, ELA, JHS, Spotlight, Students