I AM PHL Contest

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Philadelphia high school students, show off your one-of-a-kind talent to win one-of-a-kind prizes through the 2024 I AM PHL contest presented by PhillyGoes2College in partnership with Wawa Welcome America and Vanguard. 🔔 Like PhillyGoes2College and The Wawa Welcome America Festival, this contest is a celebration of Philadelphia and a celebration of YOU. Your talent, your passions, your future.

Enter by submitting original work in investment, music, visual art, or spoken word performance. 🎤 💰 🖋️ 🎨 Your work will be seen by judges at the forefront of Philadelphia’s creative and financial fields and one winner in each submission category will receive a $1,000 cash prize, the chance to be seen at the 2024 Wawa Welcome America Festival, and much more!

Read below 👇 for details on this year’s judges, prizes, and themes.

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Important Dates

  • January 8, 2024: I AM PHL opens for submissions
  • February 10, 2024: I AM PHL kickoff event
  • April 19, 2024: submission deadline
  • May 2024: winners announced
  • June 19 – July 4, 2024: Wawa Welcome America Festival

How To Enter

Please contact kstaskel@philaedfund.org with any questions.

Rules for Entry

  • You must be a Philadelphia high school student to enter.
  • Students must work individually. We cannot accept entries from teams or groups. 
  • Entries that contain profanity or otherwise discriminatory language will be disqualified.
  • Entries must be your original work. Covers will not be accepted and entries that contain plagiarism will be disqualified. 
  • Entries in music, visual art, or spoken word must respond to the theme (see below).
  • Before you start working on your entry, see below for important guidelines for each submission category!

Respond to the Theme

Music, visual art, or spoken word performance submissions must be based on one of the two prompts below, each of which asks you to explore your vision for yourself and the City of Philadelphia and how your unique talents and aspirations will contribute to Philadelphia’s bright future.

 

  • Option #1: Great Things Are Happening In Philadelphia
  • Option #2: I Am College Bound

Submit Your Entry

Click here to submit your entry by the April 19th deadline. As a reminder, spoken word and music submissions should be videos, visual art submissions should be photographs of your work, and investment submissions should be PDFs or Google Docs. 

Tips for Success in Music, Art, and Poetry

  • Show us who you are: be specific, be original, be YOU!
  • Choose a topic you are passionate about and make viewers feel that passion too.
  • Judging criteria will include the quality, originality, and impact of the piece as well as its adherence to the theme.
  • Ask your friends, teachers, or tutors for feedback. Make revisions and try out a few drafts before you decide you’ve arrived at your best work. 
  • In the music and poetry categories, illustrate your ideas using descriptive, precise, and concrete imagery or examples. As writing teachers the world over would say, “show instead of tell!” 
  • For the spoken word category, try to memorize your poem. This will allow you to perform your piece instead of simply reading it aloud. 

Right to Share

By submitting to the I AM PHL 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, Vanguard, and I AM PHL contest partners.

Spoken Word

Music

Visual Art

Investment

Submit a video performance of no more than three minutes. Your piece must be original, unpublished, and in response to the theme (see above). Note that the quality of the video is not important. The quality of your work is what matters!

🏆 Prizes

  • $1,000 cash award
  • Mentor session with QuentinThePoet
  • Opportunity to perform at the 2024 Wawa Welcome America Festival
  • 2 preferred seating area tickets to the festival’s July 4th concert and fireworks
  • 6 month membership to creative co-working space Indy Hall

👏 Judges

  • QuentinThePoet: storyteller and Executive Director of We The People Stage
  • Oyewumi Oyeniyi: 2023-2024 City of Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate
  • Trapeta Mayson: 2020-2021 City of Philadelphia Poet Laureate

 

Submit a video of no more than three minutes. All lyrics and/or music must be original, unpublished, and in response to the theme (see above). Note that the quality of the video is not important. The quality of your work is what matters! We just want to see you playing the song– at school, at home, anywhere you like. 

🏆 Prizes

  • $1,000 cash award
  • Mentor session with Ben Thomas
  • Opportunity to perform at the 2024 Wawa Welcome America Festival
  • Studio time and 1 year membership to REC Philly
  • 2 special guest experience tickets to the festival’s July 4th concert and fireworks
  • 6 month membership to creative co-working space Indy Hall

👏 Judges

  • Kristal Oliver: Grammy-nominated songwriter and Master Instructor featured in HBO’s feature film Stand Up & Shout
  • Will Toms: Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of REC Philly, TED Speaker, and 2021 member of Forbes 30 Under 30
  • Ben Thomas: Grammy and BET Award-winning engineer, producer, and mixer; founder of After5 Studios and co-owner of nicethingsMUSIC
  • Verbosity: Philadelphia-based hip-hop/R&B trio uniquely fusing rapping and singing into a musical collage of intellectual lyrics with an urban twist

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 and must respond to the theme (see above). Please submit a clear and well-lit digital photograph of your work along with a 3-4 sentence artist statement.

🏆 Prizes

  • $1,000 cash award
  • Mentor session with Jane Golden
  • Opportunity to display your work at the 2024 Wawa Welcome America Festival
  • 2 preferred seating area tickets to the festival’s July 4th concert and fireworks
  • 6 month membership to creative co-working space Indy Hall

👏 Judges

  • A Brilliant Nomad (Tiayrra Bradley): multi-hyphenate artist specializing in art direction, photography, film and music production, podcasting, and set design
  • Jane Golden: artist and Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia
  • Yesterday Nite (Alim Smith): interdisciplinary artist whose work has been featured on Complex, the hit TV show Atlanta, Art Basil, and more

Prepare investment recommendations for potential clients outlined in a Vanguard-designed case study, which you can find here. Please submit your entry in PDF format. Note that you are not responding individually to each of the five questions at the end of the case study. Rather, you are writing three recommendations (one for each client) using those questions as a guide.

🏆 Prizes

  • $1,000 cash award
  • Mentor session with Vanguard investment professionals 
  • Two preferred seating area tickets to the festival’s July 4th concert and fireworks
  • 6 month membership to creative co-working space Indy Hall

👏 Judges

  • Vanguard investment professionals

Submit here!

You did it! You crafted an entry for the I AM PHL contest and now you’re ready to submit. 🎉 Congratulations and thank you for your hard work! 🙌 Head here to submit now.

Hear from the I AM PHL 2023 Winners!

Catch up with last year’s winners of the I AM PHL 2023 contest.

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