Optimist (DHHCW) FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information on the contest, visit the Optimist website

Official Optimist Participation form (Click to download)

What is this year's topic?

Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH)
Topic: “Is There a Fine Line Between Optimism and Reality?”

Who is eligible to enter?

The contest is open to young people* through grade 12 in the United States and Canada, to CEGEP in Québec and grade 13 in the Caribbean, who are educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean. Students must be certified to have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more in their better ear, which must be supported by an audiogram within the last 24 months in order to be eligible to compete. For students with a CI, the ear without the CI must meet the 40 dB or greater criteria.

Click here for Optimist website.

What are the exceptions for participants?

  • First place winners (in the local or district competition) from previous years are not eligible to participate.
  • Second place winners from previous years may enter the competition; they will not be eligible to receive any prize for second place but will still receive a certificate. They will receive a scholarship but no additional prize if they win first place.
  • Third place winners and students who have not yet won any prize from previous years are eligible to enter the competition again.
  • Scholarships are reserved for the district level of the competition.  First place winners will receive a bursary.  Additional prizes will also be awarded to all three levels of winners.
  • First time participants (out of town students) in the Optimist Competition may be allowed to attend the competition if their intention is to participate in the following year. If students want to only attend the second year but not participate, they are welcome to do so with the support of funding from their local school district.
  • If anyone (Lower Mainland students) only wishes to observe the Optimist Competition but does not wish to compete, and will also be present for lunch at the Optimist competition, email office@popdhh.ca with a separate list of these students/parents/adults to be included in our lunch count.

How do I register?

Visit our website to register.  Print and fill out applicable forms

  • Signed DHHCW Consent forms (for students)
  • Official Optimist Participation Form (for participants)
  • Audiogram
  • Funding Form (if you are requesting funding)

Scan/email to office@popdhh.ca; emails are preferred if possible.  Alternatively, you can fax your forms to 604.296-9063.  Please call the office to confirm that we have received your forms if you have faxed them.  For questions, call our office at 604.296-9062.

Can my student's travel be funded?

Out-of-town students may be funded under certain conditions:

  • Out of town students who are competing in the Optimist Contest for the first time​ 
  • Out of town students who are attending for the first time but not competing​ ​
  • Out of town students who have previously competed but haven’t won the first place and wish to compete again
  • One time only: First place winners from the previous year will be funded if they would like to attend this year and welcome the new contestants on the stage.

All other ​students who have already attended in the past (past winners or​ first time​ observers) are welcome to attend again but will not qualify for funding.

Can I bring an Educational Assistant?

  • Yes.  We will provide financial support to school district staff needing to accompany the student.  Additional staff funding approval is determined on an individual basis.  Submit the Funding Form for consideration.


How do we travel to the event?

How do we travel to the event?

  • If you need to fly in to the event, you have the choice of booking the flight yourself; or, if your request to POPDHH for funding has been approved, we can book the flight for you. 
  • Once your POPDHH funding form has been approved, you will be reimbursed after the event once receipts are submitted.
  • If you are local (GVRD), you need to organize your own transportation.  However if cost is a burden, you can apply for funding by submitting a district funding form for our consideration. 


What do I do with my students if I plan to attend the Itinerant Conference?

  • The Outreach program is planning some activities for out-of-town students only (not local students) on Education Day. This will free up itinerant teachers to attend the Itinerant Conference being offered. If students are with an aide or interpreter, they would be expected to accompany the student for the day.  
  • Please email office@popdhh.ca if you have any further questions.


Do we book flights/hotel or do you?

  • This depends on your situation. Some people like to book their own flights and then get reimbursed afterwards. They prefer to have control over when they fly, which airline, etc. Other people are flying with many students and do not want a huge charge on their credit card. 
  • If you ask for funding support for your hotel, we will book it. You won’t have a choice on your roommate; groupings are based on same-gender. The students will be grouped together in some rooms and the parents and educational staff will be grouped together in other rooms; adults will not be sharing rooms with students.
  • If you want your own room, then you can book and pay for the hotel yourself. 
  • If you are seeking funding, all funding requests must be made through our POPDHH funding form 


Is there a cost to the event?

No, our event entrance fees are FREE. There may be costs in addition to traveling, food, etc.  If any additional costs cannot be covered by your school district, then you can apply for limited funding support using our POPDHH funding form. Once approved, you will be reimbursed.


Will food be provided?

  • Breakfast is provided at the hotel for out-of-town guests. 
  • Lunch for all attendees at the Optimist Competition is provided by Outreach. 
  • Dinner is not provided.


Can parents attend?

  • Yes, but only one supervising adult for every 4-5 students is covered in terms of funding for out-of-town guests.
  • Additional out-of-town guests will have to pay for their own travel expenses.
  • Local students are welcome to invite their family and friends to attend the Optimist Competition. 


How do we get reimbursed for our costs?

  • Our office support staff will send you an expense form. You need to keep your receipts and submit them after the event. You will only be reimbursed what has been pre-approved on your funding form. 


Who should fill out the forms?

  • The local TDHH accompanying the student should be the person coordinating and signing the forms. A district admin signature is required for our POPDHH funding form. 

My child doesn't have a TDHH. Can we still come?

  • Yes, the parent should ask the student’s case manager to coordinate the forms and registration process. 

What are the prizes for the Optimist Competition?

There are 6 prizes to be won at the local level of the competition: 3 winners in the ASL category and 3 in the Oral category.     

  • 1st place winners from past years are not eligible to compete again or win any scholarship/prize.
  • 2nd and 3rd place winners from past years are eligible to compete for the 1st place scholarship but will not receive any prizes if they receive 2nd or 3rd place again.
  • All other past participants who have not won any prizes/scholarships are welcome to compete again.


  • 1st place winners in Oral and ASL categories will receive a scholarship in the amount $1250 each.
  • All participants will receive a certificate of participation.
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive a medallion.
  • 1st place winners in the Oral and ASL categories will also receive an iPad.
  • 2nd place prize is an iPad.
  • 3rd place prize is a $50 gift certificate and a surprise gift.


How do I present?

  • You may present your topic in ASL or orally. 


Where can I get more information about the competition?

  • You can read all the rules on the Official Optimist Participation Form form (click here to obtain form). Detailed rules, judges’ criteria, scorekeeping and other information can be downloaded from the Optimist website.

What is the next step after winning the competition?


How do I know if my student has a 40 dB hearing level (qualification criteria)?

  • Calculate the pure-tone average for the better ear, i.e. the ear in which the student has better hearing.  The pure-tone average dB level is calculated by averaging the hearing thresholds from the student’s audiogram at 500, 1000 and 2000 frequencies for that ear (add the numbers for those frequencies and divide by 3). If the result is 40 dB or greater, the student qualifies.