FSSA Soph. Wins Walgreens Challenge

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts’ (FSSA) Sophomore Drama student, Emily Copeland, has won the 2021 National Walgreens Expressions Challenge Award for expressing herself through spoken word. Emily will receive a $2,000 prize for her original spoken word poem “Young, Gifted and Black.”

Fifteen high school students representing the states of California, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia have been named winners of the 2021 Walgreens Expressions Challenge, in a field of 3,554 entries from across the country.

By combining artistic expression with individual student research, the Expressions Challenge empowers high school students to positively influence their classmates, school and community. Teens were encouraged to use their voice through art, spoken word, music and public service announcements (PSAs) to communicate their perspectives on challenging life issues such as bullying, self-esteem, gender identity, body image, sexual responsibility and more.

Walgreens launched the Expressions Challenge as a national, virtual program for the first time. Twelve winners from three categories – visual arts, video production, and spoken word – were awarded $2,000 each at a special awards ceremony on May 21.

The Walgreens Expressions Challenge program was launched in 2009 in Chicago and St. Louis at the suggestion of the Walgreens Community Task Force which at the time was was alarmed by the rising number of incidents of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV and AIDS, among high school students. Over the past dozen years, there has been a substantial rise in Expressions entries related to mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and even suicide prevention.