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Press Release

IBC Hosts All-Academies High School Speech Contest for 16th Year

Students present their ideas about health care reform, vie for top prizes

Philadelphia, PA - March 3, 2010 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) is supporting the Philadelphia Academies, Inc. speech contest for the 16th consecutive year. The event will be held today at the company's headquarters at 1901 Market Street. The 28 competing 9th and 10th grade students from 16 Philadelphia area high schools will present their thoughts on this topic question, "Health care reform, what are your ideas?"

The contest gives students the opportunity to speak on timely and thought-provoking topics to a diverse group of prominent business leaders. Students are judged on their presentation, control, articulation, volume, energy, and poise.

Prior to the competition, the students will participate in a series of training and practice sessions conducted by IBC associates who belong to the Big Blue Toastmasters club, an IBC club that's part of an international non-profit organization that helps develop communication and leadership skills. Prizes, including a laptop computer and digital camera donated by one of the sponsors, will be awarded to the top five students.

Several prominent area business leaders will attend today's contest including Lisa Nutter, president of the Philadelphia Academies, Inc. The judges represent an array of local organizations including the ACE Group, The Gray Charitable Trust, Citizens Bank, Clear Wireless Internet, Rohm and Haas, and Bank of America.

"The speech contest is an exciting way for students to practice their presentation skills, learn about an important social or community issue, and network with professionals from diverse area businesses," said John Clayton, IBC workforce development manager. "Our youth represent our future, and events like this encourage students to excel by helping them gain the confidence and other skills they'll need to succeed later in life."

For more information: Philadelphia Academies press release

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Philadelphia Academies, Inc.

Philadelphia Academies, Inc. is a nonprofit youth development organization working to change life outcomes for students through first-of-its-kind career academies. The oldest and the original business/education partnership in the country, today, Philadelphia Academies, Inc. oversees 10 academy programs in 16 Philadelphia public high schools, serving 4,500 students each year.  Academies include:   Automotive and Mechanical Engineering; Applied Electrical Science; Biotechnology; Business and Technology; Communications; Environmental Science; Health and Life Sciences; Hotel, Restaurant, Travel and Tourism; Process Technology; and Urban Education.  Programs are designed to motivate young people to stay engaged in school, and are structured to create supportive networks in the real world.

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