The Freehold Sunrise Optimist Club has been hosting a diverse number of activities that benefit today’s youth, always encouraging optimism and providing scholarships and other benefits to those who participate.

For example, the recent Oratorical Contest, asked teenagers to express in an individual five minute speech, their perspectives on optimism, and were judged accordingly. This year’s winner was Preisha Agarwal, a 12-year-old student from Crossroads Middle School in Monmouth Junction, who was handpicked by a group of judges for her presentation entitled “Where Are My Roots of Optimism?” Agarwal recently went on to take second place in the District competition in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Agarwal, who will be entering 8th Grade this fall, is only one of many in her age bracket sharing the same views on the importance of viewing the world through an optimistic lens, and like many others in her a generation, expressing it boldly and generously.

The Sunrise Optimist Club each year also celebrates the optimism of today’s youth by presenting a number of local students with sizable scholarships, helping to further foster their growth within the community and paying tribute to their achievements.

This year’s honorees included the recipient of the Ray Favocci Memorial Scholarship, 18-year-old Morganville resident Meghan A. Kryscnski, who will be attending Rowan University, focusing on Music Education; winner of the Peter J. Saker Memorial Scholarship, 18-year-old Howell resident Christian J. Milano, who will be attending Fairleigh Dickinson University, focusing on Hospitality Management; recipient of the Joseph Salkin Scholarship, 17-year-old Colts Neck resident Caroline H. Osborne, who will be attending Rutgers University, focusing on Neuroscience and Law.  The last scholarship recipient was the Carmen J. Rivello Memorial Scholarship honoree, 17-year-old Howell resident Jayne C. McDevitt, who will be attending University of Maryland, majoring in Molecular Biology.

Another program the Sunrise Optimist Club hosts is its popular Photo Contest, which received 25 entries this year. The Photo Contest is open to students from 6th through 12th Grades. Students must snap photos illustrating the 10 points of the Optimist Creed using a particular theme.

This year, the Sunrise Optimist Club awarded three winners for their exceptional photography.  The Grand Prize winner was Jake Tennant, 10th Grader from Howell High School’s Entertainment Technology program; Second Place winner was Peter DeVingo, 9th Grader from Eatontown Memorial Middle School; and Third Place winner Joanne Nakidde, a student of the Mbiriizi Advanced Primary School in Uganda, Africa.

“It is so exciting to see these young people display their optimism openly and boldly,” stated President Shari Scaramuzzo.  “With so many negatives in the news we are confident that our optimistic winners will have a positive influence on the future.”

For more information on the Sunrise Optimist Club of Freehold, visit www.freeholdsunriseoptimists.com.  The Sunrise Optimist Club of Freehold participates in and supports many community youth programs and services.  Meetings are open to the public and are held every Friday starting at 7 am at the Perkins on Route 9 North in Freehold.  Come to breakfast and discover Optimism.