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PhillyGoes2College Announces I Am Philadelphia Winners to Take Wawa Welcome America Stage

May 24, 2023

Philadelphia’s 9th-12th graders showed off their one-of-a-kind talent to win one-of-a-kind prizes through this year’s I Am Philadelphia contest presented by PhillyGoes2College in partnership with Wawa Welcome America and Vanguard.

To enter the contest, students submitted original work in one of four categories: music, art, spoken word, or investment. Their work brought to life contest prompts meant to spark a celebration of students’ own futures and the future of our city. We are grateful for and inspired by each submission we received. Trust us when we say that Philly’s got talent.

The results are in!

Top submissions in each category were reviewed by judges at the forefront of Philadelphia’s creative and financial fields. Our judges selected one winner in each submission category to be awarded a $1,000 cash prize; exclusive mentor sessions; the opportunity to perform or display their work at this year’s Wawa Welcome America Festival; and preferred seating area or special guest experience tickets to the festival’s July 4th concert and fireworks.

Mentor sessions will be generously provided by: Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia; Quentin Williams, Executive Director of We The People Stage; Dave Silver, Founder of Rec Philly; and Vanguard investment professionals.

Help us celebrate our winners!

Let our winners introduce themselves and their winning submissions below. I Am Philadelphia winners will be highlighted at Wawa Welcome America’s Our America Now festival event on June 20th at Love Park. Stay tuned for details on how you can join us to catch live student performances and more.

Poetry: Aziza Hamza I am Aziza Hamza, a student at Paul Robeson High School. The love I have for poetry is like no other, and all my friends and family know that best. I was introduced to the I Am Philadelphia Contest by my counselor, Mr. Brogan, and was immediately sure I was going to join and check it out. I have never made a better choice. I am so happy and thrilled that I have had the opportunity to work with such amazing teachers, such amazing peers. Thank you so much, I can’t appreciate it enough. Check out Aziza’s winning submission here.

Visual Art: Nevaeh Brown I’m Nevaeh and I started doing photography when I was 9 years old. My strong suits are portraits, events, and especially street photography. I entered the contest because I have lived in Philly for my whole life, and I love it. It is not just the fact that it’s where I live, but that it is a place full of memories, community, and love. In the future, I plan on going to NYU to major in social media and marketing, while minoring in either photojournalism or editorial photography. I’m 16 years old now, and I plan that with whatever I make of my life, that I will feel fulfilled and passionate about what I’m doing. Check out Naveah’s winning submission here.

Music: Sofia Kempa: Sofia Kempa is an aspiring singer/songwriter based in Philadelphia. She majors in Vocal Music at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, and has been writing and producing her own music since January of 2022. Music is something she’s loved since she was little, and she hopes to study and pursue music production as a career in the future. Check out Sofia’s winning submission here.



Investment: Theodore Loshi Theodore Loshi is a current sophomore attending Julia R. Masterman High School living in the Northeast of Philadelphia. Initially, he joined the competition for extra credit in his English class but then once he realized he could use this to present his passion and knowledge of the topic, he took initiative and worked on submitting his best work. As of now his plans after high school are to study and pursue a career in business/finance. Of his work, Vanguard investment professionals commented on Theodore’s understanding of risk tolerance, liquidity, diversification as protection against market downturns, and the interest rate risk inherent in some investments.

A special and sincere thank you to all students who entered the I Am Philadelphia contest and to our partners at Wawa Welcome America and Vanguard who make this contest possible. Stay tuned to PhillyGoes2College social media to see more student submissions.


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