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Resources and Opportunities

WINNERS of the 5th Annual BE INSPIRED Essay Contest

The 5th Annual BE INSPIRED Essay Contest, presented by UPMC, provided regional youth with an opportunity to consider the legacy of female changemakers past and present.

The Girls Coalition of SWPA is excited to announce nine winners from our 2017 Essay Contest. Representing over 7 different schools and variety of inspirational, female changemakers, the winners will be recognized on Saturday, June 24, 2017. During the Recognition Event, winners will receive their awards, share portions of their essays, and celebrate with family and friends at the Union Project in Highland Park.

Our nine winners span three age groups: Grades 6-7, Grades 8-9, and Grades 10-12. They are:

WINNERS: Grades 6-7

First Place
Alina Zaidi, Grade 7, Marshall Middle School (North Allegheny)
Female Changemaker: Malala Yousafzai
Click here to read Alina’s winning essay.
(Pictured: TOP LEFT)

Second Place
Georgia Cox, Grade 7, Sewickley Academy
Female Changemaker: Ellen Degeneres
Click here to read Georgia’s winning essay.
(Pictured: TOP MIDDLE)

Third Place
Asia Hall, Grade 7, Urban Pathways 6-12 Charter School
Female Changemaker: Erykah Badu
Click here to read Asia’s winning essay.
(Pictured: TOP RIGHT)


WINNERS: Grades 8-9

First Place
Ananya Rao, Grade 8, Seneca Valley Middle School (Seneca Valley)
Female Changemaker: J.K. Rowling
Click here to read Ananya’s winning essay.
(Pictured: BOTTOM, FAR LEFT)

Second Place
Claire Shao, Grade 8, Marshall Middle School (North Allegheny)
Female Changemaker: Katherine Johnson
Click here to read Claire’s winning essay.

Third Place
Rachel Bina, Grade 8, Ingomar Middle School (North Allegheny)
Female Changemaker: Sojourner Truth
Click here to read Rachel’s winning essay.
(Not Pictured)


WINNERS: Grades 10-12

First Place
Chloe Cropper, Grade 10, Avonworth High School (Avonworth)
Female Changemaker: Malala Yousafzai
Click here to read Chloe’s winning essay.

Second Place
Elaine Gao, Grade 11, North Allegheny Senior High School (North Allegheny)
Female Changemaker: Anne Eleanor Roosevelt
Click here to read Elaine’s winning essay.

Third Place
Suong Tran, Grade 10, Montour High School (Montour)
Female Changemaker: Rosa Parks
Click here to read Suong’s winning essay.

Essay submissions were asked to select a female changemaker, past or present, who embodies the qualities of a strong leader and advocates for social justice and equality. They were also asked to utilize the life and legacy of Maya Angelou, writer and Civil Rights activist, as inspiration for their female changemaker selection. All of the submitted essays spoke powerfully about the role of female leaders within various national and international landscapes as well as about what each writer has learned from both Angelou and their selected female changemaker.

Congratulations to all of our winner and participants, and a HUGE thank you to UPMC for making the 5th Annual BE INSPIRED Essay Contest possible!