2015 Selma Essay Contest Winners

On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, the National Liberty Museum was thrilled to host an award ceremony that marked the culmination of the national Selma Speech & Essay Contest, made possible thanks to grant funding from the John Templeton Foundation and in-kind charitable gifts from Paramount Pictures.

 

Out of almost 800 submissions from 43 states, twelve finalists were chosen, and the top three – Ifeoma White-Thorpe, Evan Lehmann, and Edan Armas – were welcomed to the National Liberty Museum for the Selma Award Ceremony.

The ceremony kicked off with a spectacular red carpet welcome for the students, who were accompanied by their family members and their adult sponsors who guided them throughout the contest.

As the students entered the Museum, former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford rang the NLM Liberty Bell to start the ceremony. Senator Wofford was an original Selma marcher and adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr.

NLM CEO Gwen Borowsky then welcomed the Girard College Cavalier Band & Choir (directed by former Teacher as Hero winner, Paul Eaton). The students set an inspirational tone for the day with their moving rendition of “Glory.” Next, guests watched special remarks from SELMA actor David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay.

The ceremony was hosted by KYW news reporter Cherri Gregg, who welcomed Senator Wofford to speak about his experience in Selma, as well as his work with Dr. King. Senator Wofford went on to tell the students what an inspiration they are: “Mr. Armas, Mr. Lehmann, and Miss White-Thorpe, you have used your voices to speak about individual freedom and self-determination in a way that would have made Dr. King proud.”

Cherri Gregg explained to the audience that while the students knew they were in the top three, none of them knew what place they had actually won. Ms. Gregg then invited each student to the stage, where they shared their inspiration and gave their speeches. Before making the big announcement, the students were surprised with recorded messages of support and congratulations from their schools. Then, it was finally time to learn who would be taking home the grand prize of $5,000. Edan Armas was named the third place winner, and then came the biggest surprise of the day – Gwen Borowsky announced that Evan and Ifeoma tied for first place! Each student scored identically to one hundredth of a point!

After each student received their prize, Deputy City Representative Elka Battle read a proclamation from Mayor Nutter proclaiming April 21, 2015 “Voices of Liberty Day.”


Big Ideas for Little Learners: Exploring friendship through storytelling

Join us with your family, on Saturday, June 9 at 11am, for an engaging exploration of friendship, acceptance, respect, and kindness. Using puppets, props, and lots of imagination, author and illustrator Staci Schwartz will lead an interactive reading of her book, The New Bear on the Block. Your family will receive their very own signed copy of the book, along with a special Hide-and-Seek Adventure Map of the National Liberty Museum personally designed by Staci. Learn more.

Sound + Vision Exhibition on Display April 6 - June 10

Sound + Vision explores the influence of music on contemporary glass art and the inextricable connection between music and visual arts. Featuring the works of 29 artists and collaborative teams, Sound + Vision showcases figurative representations of instruments, experimental glass instruments, and multimedia sculptural works inspired by both musical experiences and legends. Learn more.

Learn about our exciting Closing Event for this exhibit.

Shown: Violin by Etai Rahmil. Photo by Steven Toney.

"Pay What You Wish" and Special Activities on Memorial Day

Honor, explore, and be inspired this Memorial Day. At the National Liberty Museum you’ll discover stories of both military heroes and ordinary citizens who contributed to preserving our country’s liberty. There are special activities for adults and children throughout the day, including military trivia and a creative kids' workshop. All activities are included with your "Pay What You Wish" admission. Learn more.

Art Workshops for Kids in May and June

Join us on various weekend days in May and June when we will be offering art workshops for kids in conjunction with our Sound + Vision Exhibit. Workshops are free with Museum admission. Preregistration is required. Check our Event Calendar for details.

Lecture by the Foreign Policy Research Institute

In our next session, on Wednesday, June 6, our guest is Sheri E. Berman, professor of political science at Barnard College. Berman’s main interests are European politics and political history, democracy and democratization, globalization, and the history of the left. Her two books have examined the role played by social democracy in determining political outcomes in 20th-century Europe. Learn more and register day.

Young Heroes Award

This annual awards program, sponsored by TD Bank, recognizes young people who have taken leadership roles in their schools or communities to bring about positive social change. Each year we look for young people who have engaged in civic activities, promoted respectful resolutions to conflict, advocated for diversity, and much more. Nominations for 2018 are now open. Learn more and nominate a deserving young person today.

Awards of Valor

This annual awards program, presented by YOUR LOCAL CHEVROLET DEALERS, honors police officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders for extraordinary acts of courage, empathy, and meritorious service. Nominations for 2018 are now open. Learn more