Jasmine Berasategui, a Lawton High School student, was awarded $7,500 in scholarships for her essay titled “Just iMagine a World without Boundaries,” where the teen discussed her personal experiences dealing with anxiety and autism.

“My essay talked about the obstacles I faced,” Berasategui said. “It was about dealing with problems and how I overcame them with help from students and family, and how I’m still overcoming them.”

Berasategui competed over the summer in the Optimist International’s 2020 Oratorical Regionals and World Championship where she competed against students from around the world — winning $2,500 for the Oklahoma District 5 competition and $5,000 in the regional championships.

“She is an exceptional daughter, sister and student,” said mom Shelly Berasategui. “We are very proud of her and astonished that she was able to step out of her comfort zone and embrace her obstacles. We are grateful for her English teacher Mr. Freeman who believes in her as much as we do.”

The Oratorical program asked competitors to develop and deliver a speech on the topic of, “Just iMagine a World without Boundaries.” Competition began June 16, with local contests sponsored by Optimist Clubs, where winners at the club level advanced to the District level. Competitors were judged on poise, speech content, delivery and presentation and overall effectiveness.

Regional competition featured seven competitors, with the winner of each Region receiving a $5,000 scholarship and advancing to compete in the World Championships held July 17. The World Champion, Jaylon Muchison, of Illinois, walked away with the top prize of a $15,000 scholarship.

Berasategui said she unsure what school she wants to attend when she graduates with the class of 2022, but said she is looking for a school where she can learn to become a young adult fantasy-fiction novelist.

“This entire experience has been really incredible with all these opportunities and offers,” Berasategui said. “I really enjoyed competing and I hope continue competing in the future.”

Readers can watch Berasategui’s six-minute presentation on YouTube at https://youtu.be/xr_mJ0X3X-M.

Optimists perform a wide variety of volunteering and service projects in their communities, with a focus on making the world better for children. Around the world, 6 million children participate each year in Optimist programs. OI is based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Recommended for you