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Press Release

Philadelphia Students Speak Out on Being Green

19th Annual All-Academies High School speech contest held at Independence Blue Cross

Philadelphia, PA - March 12, 2009 - For the 15th consecutive year, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) is supporting the Philadelphia Academies, Inc. speech contest. The event is taking place today at IBC’s headquarters at 1901 Market Street. The 24 competing students from 14 Philadelphia area high schools are presenting speeches based on this year’s topic question, “How can I contribute to the Green Movement and encourage others to get involved?”

Prior to their competition, students spent the morning at IBC in a series of training and practice sessions conducted by IBC associates who belong to the Big Blue Toastmasters club, an international non-profit organization that helps develop communication and leadership skills. The students’ two-minute speeches will be judged on five factors: presentation, control, articulation, volume and energy, and poise. Five winners of today’s contest will receive cash prizes and a Plaque of Excellence from the Academies.

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 ACE INA Foundations, Citizens Financial Group, MEE Productions, Inc., PECO, the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Magazine, WPVI-TV 6, and IBC. These judges and a number of other corporate partners graciously donated prizes and other giveaways.

“Supporting Philadelphia’s youth is a special part of our commitment to strengthening the well-being of our community,” said John Clayton, IBC workforce development manager. “The speech contest is a great opportunity for these students to have their voices heard, while gaining valuable public speaking skills that will help them in their future careers. The students also take advantage of the day to meet and network with our sponsor companies and judges. In fact, in the past, a few winners even joined Independence Blue Cross as summer interns.”

About Philadelphia Academies

The Philadelphia Academies, Inc. is a private, non-profit, intermediary organization that connects businesses and public schools to deliver career-directed education in 10 fields to over 6,500 students in 16 public High Schools. As one of the oldest business/education partnerships in the country, the goal of Academies is to provide students with skills to succeed following graduation. Consistently, 85% – 90% of Academy graduates are working or in higher education 18 months following high school.

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 3.4 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.