JUNIOR OPTIMIST CLUB PROGRAM
In 1953, the Optimist Club of Fort Worth began an afterschool youth program for 5th and 6th grade boys in 6 FWISD schools. This program was called the Junior Optimist Clubs. Those school clubs were George C. Clarke, Worth Heights, South Fort Worth (now R. J. Wilson), Carroll Peak, R. Vickery and Stephen F. Austin (the last two now closed). The boys participated in softball, volleyball and soccer competition, coached by school personnel.
Today there are 14 JOC school teams, with over 1000 boys and girls, grades 3, 4 and 5, participating in football, soccer, and girls’ softball. There are two school divisions: Southside and North/East. In all sports, playoffs are held and 1st and 2nd place trophies for the regular season and the playoffs are awarded.
Through all these 64 consecutive years the final culminating Junior Optimist Club event has been the presentation of the Outstanding Junior Optimist of the Year. Each coach picks his top outstanding overall well-rounded, well-behaved Junior Optimist student. Beginning in 1953, high achievers from each school have been interviewed by a senior Optimist committee. After the interview and tallying of points for the candidate’s overall achievement, a top winner is chosen from each of our two divisions as the Outstanding Junior Optimist of the Year. Each of these two receives a beautiful trophy. Since all participants are winners from their respective schools each will also receive a nice trophy.