Teen Accelerate

Congratulations to our 2023 Teen Accelerate Winners, and to all of the finalists!

1st Place: [CodHers CLE] – Ella Witalec – Laurel School

2nd Place: Healing Through Harmonies – Anshul Sharma – University School

This year, in conjunction with Cleveland Leadership Center’s Accelerate competition, we created an opportunity for youth in grades 9th-12th to participate in, Teen Accelerate: Student Citizens Make Change. 12 Finalists were selected from dozens of entries and given the opportunity to pitch their idea live at the Huntington Convention Center on Feb. 23, 2023.


  • The top winner won $1,000 plus a mentor from a partner organization to help them launch or expand their idea.
  • The Runner-up won $500
  • All finalists who pitch on Feb. 23 won $250



  • Alyssa Valentine – Hawken School
  • Gabby Robinson – Hawken School
  • Jahna Harris – Hawken School

“I’m Fine” – Podcast

  • Gabrielle Williams – Hawken School

Mental Health Matters

  • Samantha Sunderhaft – Kenston High School

Occasio Jobs, LLC

  • Seth Wojnar – St. Ignatius
  • Young Kim – St. Ignatius
  • Colin Schnitter – St. Ignatius

Ohio for Equity

  • Jason Folk – Stow-Monroe Falls High School
  • Sasha Turner – Hawken School
  • Jaxon Farmer – Howland High School
  • Ashton Spradling – Hawken School

Representation in Research

  • Zaid Ashruf – University School

Ruby’s Retreat

  • Ruby Richard – Shaker Heights High School


  • Ben Elliott – University School
  • Matthew McMahon – University School

Shoot For a Change

  • Isabella Williams – Hubbard High School

The Anti-Grooming Initiative

  • El Braunsdorf – Shaker Heights High School
  • Isabel Mearini – Shaker Heights High School

Teen Accelerate was sponsored by Burton D. Morgan Foundation