Area high school students honored for leadership in teen health advocacy

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Congratulations are in order for some St. Louis area high school students recognized this week for their leadership in teen health advocacy. FOX 2 News Anchor Shirley Washington emceed the event at the Missouri History Museum where the students received awards for their efforts. Please see the following press released for more information about the program and the honorees.

Distinguished Leaders from the Community Recognize High School Students for their Leadership in Teen Health Advocacy

ST. LOUIS-Creativity, Leadership and Excellence describe local teens who took on the challenge of becoming teen health advocates. On Thursday, January 8, FOX 2 News Weekend Anchor, Shirley Washington ignited the crowd of nearly 100 high students, teachers and schools at the Missouri History Museum that participated in the Walgreens Expressions Challenge. Expressions is a creative arts program that allows students to discuss issues they see impacting their peers such as bullying, suicide, self-esteem, teen pregnancy and more. The goal of the program is to encourage teens to make healthy lifestyle choices. Students and teachers were awarded over $15,000 in cash prizes and gifts at the annual Expressions Challenge Award Ceremony.

This is the third year Walgreens has held this program in St. Louis. The winners were:

  • 1st place Creative Writing — Alex Panchot & Reid Doctor, Metro High School (junior)
  • 2nd place Creative Writing – Jess L. Kagan Clayton High School (freshmen)
  • 1st place Visual Arts — Ruth C. Brindel Metro High School (senior)
  • 2nd place Visual Arts –Lauryn E. Marshall Metro High School (junior)
  • 1st place Media Arts — Toryon Dennis, Juwuan Dennis, Taron Dennis , Mathews Dickey Boys` and Girls` Club (sophomores)
  • 2nd place Media Arts– Maya Jones, Isaiah Jones, Bria Waller, Karl Palmer and Madison Rattler, Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis (sophomores)

Hazelwood West high school junior, Jaylen Bledsoe, wowed the crowd as he described following his dream of being an entrepreneur. Jaylen is the CEO and founder of Jaylen D. Bledsoe Global Group a successful company he started in 2012. Recognizing his peers needed a voice, he partnered with the Expressions Challenge to help motivate teens to make healthy choices.

Martin Luther Mathews, co-founder of the Mathews-Dickey Boys` & Girls` Club was given the Civic Leadership Award for his work with youth for over 50 years.

About Expressions Challenge

Expressions Challenge sponsored by Walgreens is an incentive based contest for high school teens ages 14 to 18 to showcase their creative perspective on sexual responsibility and healthy lifestyle choices. The Expressions Challenge motivates teens to voice their opinion on critical life issues they face daily, including bullying, through creative writing, visual arts and media arts. The contest runs from October 1 through November 30. For more information visit

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