Meet Our 2023 My Philadelphia Climate Story Climate Heroes!

February 6, 2023

Please welcome our first ever Climate Heroes! This year, as part of My Philadelphia Climate Story, 11 talented high school students from three public Philadelphia schools have been selected to participate in climate writing workshops this winter and spring. The lessons, led by Cosmic Writers, will also feature two workshops with journalists from WHYY's Plan Philly news desk and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Our Climate Heroes will learn to sharpen their climate storytelling, shape interview questions, and share their communities' experiences, all while forming strong connections over their shared climate advocacy.

On April 26, 2023, the Climate Heroes will present excerpts of their work at the Climate Storytelling Festival, an event celebrating My Philadelphia Climate Story's teachers, students, and community activists co-hosted by PPEH and WHYY. 

Key an eye out for future publications from PPEH about the Climate Heroes, and even publications from the Climate Heroes themselves!


Welcome 2023 Climate Heroes!
Amani with short red hair, headphones around her neck, and a black sweater.

Amani Sweeper Academy at Palumbo, Grade 9

My name is Amani Sweeper from Academy at Palumbo and I an in 9th grade. I am a published poet, writer and dabble in art. I participate in theatre and enjoy acting. Writing is my main passion and I'm very passionate about the science behind climate change.


Eva in a grey hoodie holding up the peace sign with her fingers while taking a selfie.

Eva Parker Academy at Palumbo, Grade 9

My name is Eva Parker. I'm a ninth grader at Academy At Palumbo. I enjoy art, gardening, Baking, and Video games. My mom has always been an activist for many things in the past and she has influenced me to do the same!


Deveena wearing a light blue dress and white sweater smiling at the camera.

Deveena Derick Julia R. Masterman School, Grade 10

My name is Deveena Derick. I am currently a 10th grade student at Julia R. Masterman. I was born and raised in Philadelphia by my parents who moved from Kerala, India. Literature has always interested me since childhood and I love hearing stories, they tell a lot about a person

Aster wears a grey shirt and white oversized sweater with green necklaces, pink hair dye, and clips in their hair.

Aster Chau Academy at Palumbo, Grade 9

My name is Aster Chau, I'm a fourteen year old freshman at the Academy at Palumbo. Some of my passions include reading, poetry, and community involvement. My fascination within the climate crisis was sparked in my world history class and further progressed at “Listen Up! Climate Stories and Philadelphia Youth.”


Tori smiles while wearing a bright green button down shirt and green headband with her hair pulled back.

Tori Okorodudu Julia R. Masterman School, Grade 10

A Philadelphia native, I have always enjoyed exploring cities and learning about new places. I also love expressing myself through creative writing and filmmaking. I hope to change people’s perspectives on the world through the things I create, and I have a great passion for stories, music, politics, and fashion.

Isabella wears a brown button down shirt and smiles at the camera with her hair pulled back.

Isabella Smith-Santos Julia R. Masterman School, Grade 10

My name is Bella and I am in tenth grade at Julia R. Masterman. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA but occasionally travel to other places. My favorite hobbies are reading and writing. I love the art of literature and how we can use it to explore different stories and tell our own history.

Yinle gives a thumbs up while wearing a black hoodie and black rimmed glasses.

Yinle Chen Academy at Palumbo, Grade 9

My name is Yinle Chen, a freshman at the Academy at Palumbo High School. I am passionate about combating the toxic climate change that we’re currently experiencing. As this journey progresses, I hope to expand my understanding and knowledge of conducting interviews, writing about climate issues, and effectively communicating the negative impacts of climate change. I am also dedicated to my studies and strive for academic excellence. In my spare time, I enjoy playing volleyball and exploring various places. I am determined to make the most of this opportunity and create a brighter future for myself and my community.

Hager wears a light blue headscarf and black jacket while smiling at the camera.

Hager Alsekaf Julia R. Masterman School, Grade 10

My name is Hager Madyen Omar Alsekaf. I am a current high school sophomore. I was born in Sanaa, Yemen in 2007 and came to America—alongside my family of 7—to pursue an education. I have always enjoyed literature and have a passion for learning and spreading the stories of the people.

Josh Sturgis The U School, Grade 12

Hi my name is Josh Sturgis, I'm a student at the U school, and I'm in 12th grade. I wanna get better at writing. I've written like 20 books on google docs or so. I kinda want to become an author one day possibly. I still need to work on my writing a lot honestly. I write all teen books, like sci-fi, fantasy and others.

Kylie Wilson Academy at Palumbo, Grade 9

My name is Kylie Wilson. My passions are made up of drawing, nature, and writing. My dreams in life are to be an aspiring author, making and publishing my own books or novels for others to take inspiration from. And to be a child-psychologist, working with young children to help them express themselves and use healthy communication skills. Animals are one of the greatest parts of life for me, I have a cat myself—and hope to adopt many more in the near-future. Part of the reason I adore nature so much is because of the beautiful animals that come with it, and plants/flowers. I would even consider living somewhere close to nature and all of its aspects in the future as well.

Sariyah Underwood Academy at Palumbo, Grade 9