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I Am Philadelphia: A Young Voices Contest

February 15, 2022

“Philly calls to you. Answer back boldly.” So says Teyanna Stone, a 2021 I Am Philadelphia contest winner. Philadelphia high school students, will you answer the call?

The Contest: PhillyGoes2College and the Wawa Welcome America Festival are teaming up again this year to bring you the “I Am Philadelphia” young voices contest. The contest, open to Philadelphia high school students, launches February 15th with submissions due April 15th. This year, students can submit original work in three categories for the chance to win exclusive prizes and to have their voice heard: spoken word performance, musical performance, and visual art. Winners will take the Welcome America festival stage to share their vision for themselves and the city.

The Prompt: Entries in each submission category should respond to the following prompt: Share with us your inspiration for wanting to pursue a college education in the City of Philadelphia. What will you bring to a college campus that only you can offer? How do you plan to use your education to make Philadelphia’s future brighter? 

At PhillyGoes2College, we aim to help you reach your dreams through higher education. Whether that journey takes you to a 2 or 4-year college or university, a trade/vocational school, an on-the-job apprenticeship, or the military, we are here to help you make your mark. With that in mind, know that the prompt considers any and all of these pathways valid options to talk about in your submission. The important thing is that you consider how Philadelphia has influenced you and how you will influence Philadelphia through your educational pursuits.

How to Enter: All submissions are due by April 15th and the 2022 Wawa Welcome America Festival will be held from June 19th – July 4th. Click here to submit. If you are submitting to multiple contests, complete one form for each entry. If you have any questions, please contact Find details about each submission category below.

Flyer One

Flyer Two

Submission Categories:

Spoken Word Performance: Your original spoken word performance should be a recorded video of no more than three minutes.
• Prizes: c
hance to perform your poem at the Our America Now official festival event and a mentorship with Quentin The Poet
• Judges: Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta Mayson; Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate Andre’a Rhoads; Jeannine Cook, owner of Harriett’s Bookshop; and Quentin Williams, founder of DragonTree Media and We The People Stage

Musical Performance: Your original musical performance should be a recorded video of no more than three minutes. Entries can be of any musical genre and can be instrumental only or contain both vocals and instrumentation. All lyrics and/or music must be original and unpublished.
• Prizes: Two preferred seating area tickets to the July 4th Wawa Welcome America Festival Concert; the chance to perform/have your video shown at select festival events; mentor session with Chill Moody and Ben Thomas
• Judges: Chill Moody, founder of nicethings MUSIC; Benjamin Thomas, award winning music engineer and producer, and founder of After5 Studios; and Alex Young, founder of Consequence

Visual Art: Entries of any style or medium of visual art (ex: painting, ceramics, photography, drawing) can be submitted. Entries must be original in both concept and execution. Please submit a clear and well-lit digital photograph of your work along with a 3-4 sentence artist statement.
• Prizes: Work will be displayed at select Wawa Welcome America Festival events; mentor session with Jane Golden and an additional Mural Arts team member
• Judges: Jane Golden, artist and Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia; Conrad Brenner, Founder of StreetsDept

Rules for Entry
• You must be a high school student in the city of Philadelphia to enter.
• Entries that contain profanity or otherwise discriminatory language will be disqualified.
• Entries that contain plagiarism will be disqualified. While your submission must be your original work, you may ask an educator or peer for guidance or feedback as you craft your piece. Check out our slide deck for tips for success and ideas for getting your creative juices flowing.
• If you plan to submit an entry in a language other than English, please contact

Right to Share: By submitting my video to the I Am Philadelphia contest, I grant the following entities the right to publish, reproduce, and/or adapt my entry and its contents (including for promotional purposes) online and/or in-person: PhillyGoes2College, the Wawa Welcome America Festival and festival partners, The Philadelphia Education Fund, The City of Philadelphia, NBC10 Philadelphia, Telemundo 62, Comcast NBCUniversal, DragonTree Media Group/We The People Stage, I Am Philadelphia contest partners. 

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