Girls Empowered Award Winners 2023

Annual Girls Empowered Award nominations were received, reviewed, and award winners have been selected!  A special thank you to all that sent in nominations as well as to our judges!

2023 Winners

Sophia DuMond

Elementary School Winner

Sophia is a 6th grader that lives in the Chalfont area who was nominated by her basketball coach.  In addition to being an all-star basketball player, her coach describes her gifts both on the court and off, including Sophia’s resolve in high pressure situations, and the way she inspires motivation and inclusion of all teammates.  Showing up early, staying late, initiating practice in her free time, and learning from her coach’s feedback, Sophia has worked very hard.  Sophia’s talents do not stop there!  She is also a musical theater performer and recently performed as Mrs. Hanningan in the play Annie.  Additionally, she is in the PEN Gifted Program, plays the clarinet, and is also a Girl Scout Cadette.  Sophia has shown great leadership in school where she is the Vice President of her elementary school’s Student Council, participates in a Buddy Program mentoring a third grader, and is also a teacher’s helper in the music room helping kindergarteners.  Sophia has shown passion, positivity, and dedication.  One of her peers shared, “Sophia is the only 6th grader that I know that treats every single person the same.  She makes me feel just as important and cool as the 6th graders she’s friends with.”  

Evianne Casey

Middle School Winner

Evi is an 8th grader that lives in the Doylestown area and was nominated by her mother.  Evi has shown great leadership.  She is known for both standing up to bullies and as well as supporting marginalized populations.  She has shown great sensitivity in understanding those that might be more vulnerable and courage in speaking out about issues in smaller ways, such as asking someone sitting alone to join her or individually confronting an aggressor. At the same time, she stand up in bigger ways too, including speaking frequently at school board meetings and organizing protests.  Additionally, she participates in choir and theatre.  Evi is also very expressive in the way she dresses, frequently wearing bold, puffy dresses and skirts.  At an age when too often young people are conforming, Evi’s cheery disposition and passion for individuality displays courage.  Her mother describes Evi as kind, loyal, brave, and just. 

Zandi Hall

High School Winner

Zandi is a 12th grader that lives in the Doylestown area and was nominated twice this year both by her father as well as a friend from the community!  Zandi’s leadership has taken several forms, one of which is her passion for supporting the LGBTQ community at her school.  She has led student protests, spoken at school board meetings, been in contact with local newspapers, started petition drives and rallies through online platforms, and encouraged fellow students to speak out about issues personal to them, such as suicide.  She is also the founder and president of STARR (Student Training in Advocacy Rights & Responsibilities), as well as the co-founder of 100+ Students Who Care About Bucks County, a student led philanthropic giving effort.  In addition to the 2023 Girls Empowered Award, Zandi is also this year’s recipient of the PA Council for the Social Studies Future Leader Award.  Despite all of these incredible accomplishments, Zandi does not identify as a natural leader or public speaker, but she has overcome this challenge because of her passion to inspire change.  Her father said, “Zandi is not a natural leader. She is not a natural public speaker. In fact, these things don’t come easy for her. She is only a leader because it is important. She found her voice and became empowered in the face of adversity.  He went on to say, “While many more kids were indifferent or silent, Zandi became the very definition of empowerment.” 

Eloise Sullum

Elementary School Runner Up

Eloise is a 6th grader that lives in the Buckingham area, nominated by her classroom teacher, who has had the pleasure of experiencing Eloise’s exceptional leadership skills.  This includes being an ambassador at her elementary school, a role that requires Eloise’s help planning and executing assemblies, and partaking in meetings during recess time, to help her school become a better place.  She is also a mentor to a first grade student.  Eloise is also a talented violinist, participating in the school’s orchestra, as well as an orchestra outside of school.  Eloise is a dedicated gymnast, outside of school, and recently showed great perseverance in overcoming an injury.   Additionally, her teacher indicates observing growth in Eloise over the school year, including gaining confidence and healthy communication skills.  Eloise works hard on her required assignments, will choose challenge opportunities in the classroom, and also asks questions so that she can continue to improve.  Eloise’s teacher shares, “She is making the world a better place—one day at a time.  I am so lucky to have her in my class.  I am a better teacher, and person, because of this one young lady.”

Chloe Thompson

Middle School Runner Up

Chloe is an 8th grader that lives in the Upper Darby area and was nominated by her mother.  Chloe has received Distinguished Honor Roll, student of the month, and is very active in extra-curricular activities. For example, she has shown great leadership as a team captain on both her soccer and softball teams and as a team leader on her basketball team.  She is also a Cadette Girl Scout and worked diligently on completing her Silver Award Project, titled “Global Warming Learning Initiative.”  Through this project, Chloe focused on educating 5th graders about the dangers of climate change and how they can make a difference.  Additionally, she has provided virtual resources for all of the 5th grade teachers in her school district to continue the learning district-wide.  Chloe was even invited to visit the White House in honor of this meaningful project!  In addition to this honor, she has earned many awards through Girl Scouts, including one for helping to lead younger Girl Scouts.  Her mom shares, “Chloe has a passion for reaching others and engaging them.”

Julia Ravitz

High School Runner Up

Julia is an 11th grader that lives in the Dresher area and was nominated by her aunt.  Julia has shown great compassion and leadership within her school, community, and with peers and family alike.  For example, during the COVID shutdown Julia started a video blog that focused on positivity, posting daily affirmations and things she was grateful for.  In turn, this inspired friends and the larger community to also join in posting their own affirmations and daily accomplishments, thus spreading that positivity in a time when many of us were struggling with fear and isolation.  To date, Julia has over 625 daily vlog posts!  In addition to beginning her inspirational vlog, Julia also researched how to create and apply for an LLC, obtain a buyer’s license, and create her own business, which she continues to manage today.  Julia is very involved in her youth group, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), holding many leadership positions, including Education Chair, Membership Chair, and President of her local chapter.  Her kindness and enthusiasm helped Julia be recognized internationally by BBYO and was the recipient of 3 different international awards.  Julia is also active in Student Government and Future Business Leaders of America. Within her own family, Julia has shown leadership by organizing a tour of her high school for a cousin that was considering transferring from private school to her public school.  Julia’s aunt shares, “Julia has a great deal of wisdom and always has a positive outlook, even when things are not easy.”

Ava Van Why

Elementary School Honorable Mention

Ava is a 2nd grader that lives in the Doylestown area and was nominated by a coach.  Ava’s coach describes Ava as a natural leader, and someone that is always willing to be a team player for the greater good of the team.  Ava encourages other teammates that are unsure of themselves, congratulates those doing well, and is vocal in expressing the need for teammates to pass the ball and share.  She has even been known to share her snacks with teammates that are hungry.  Her coach shared, “One of the things I love most about Ava, is that she is willing to do things and step up when no one else will.”

Samantha Levin

Middle School Honorable Mention

Samantha is a 9th grader that lives in the Chalfont area and was nominated by a family friend.  At school, Samantha has shown great leadership.  She recently participating as a lead in her school’s play and is also a member of National Junior Honor Society.  Outside of school, Samantha continues to lead!  To start, following the death of her friend’s father, Samantha became an ambassador for an organization called “Beyond the Grief,” which helps provide funds for widows.  She is also very involved in her synagogue, showing great leadership there.  Samantha is an assistant teaching youth classes on Sundays.  Additionally, she runs antisemitism programs in connection with her involvement in B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) and Stand With Us, a national antisemitism group that she is part of.  Her family friend shares, “Her capacity and maturity is on constant display across all of these empowering landscapes.”

Katerina Diaz

High School Honorable Mention

Katerina is a 12th grader that lives in the Glenmore area and was nominated by a parent.  In spite of frequent family moves around the country every 2 to 3 years and a Dysautonomia health diagnosis, Katerina has persevered.  Since the symptoms of her diagnosis can be often very difficult, Katerina began a group for other teens that share the same diagnosis offering support and solidarity.  Through this group, she has sent care packages all around the world to show others that they are not alone in their battle.  She also volunteers in her community, participates in National Honor Society, Model UN, Tech Crew, and is the President of the Downingtown Cyber Academy.  Additionally, she has been a Girl Scout for 13 years earning her Bronze and Silver awards and is currently working towards her Gold Award.  This year, she was also Girl Co-Chair for the Girl Scouts of Eastern PA’s “Take the Lead” event, their signature fundraising event.  Katerina’s parent shares that in spite of obstacles, Katerina has shown great resilience, “She took it all with grace and is a perfect example of an empowered young lady.”