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Rewriting the Narrative and Reclaiming the Future: 2024 18 Under Eighteen Presented by EQT


A group of 18 students ranging from 12 to 18 years old dressed in formal wear.

Image caption: JA's 18 Under Eighteen presented by EQT class of 2024

18 Under Eighteen: The Beginning 

As Generations Z and Alpha begin to come of age and write their narratives, a subset of individuals are already making a name for themselves and creating a better world. Recognizing and uplifting these young leaders is the basis of our 18 Under Eighteen initiative, an annual search to find those dedicated to using their passions, talents and influence to bring about positive change.  

Our 2024 18 Under Eighteen presented by EQT initiative launched in fall 2023 when we opened nominations for student leaders across our coverage region. After receiving over 100 nominations, interviewing 36 candidates and, finally, selecting 18 impressive young people, our 2024 honoree class was born.  

Built of advocates, entrepreneurs, writers, engineers, and changemakers ranging from 12-years-old to 18-years-old, the class of 2024 is formidable and passionate about their projects. Through initiatives surrounding conservation, anti-bullying, gun violence, and media literacy, the honorees are taking control of the narrative and building a better world for future generations.

Image caption: The honorees spotlighted on the jumbotron at Acrisure Stadium

18 Under Eighteen: The Event  

On February 6, we hosted our 18 Under Eighteen presented by EQT recognition ceremony at Acrisure Stadium, where over 250 people of all ages came together to uplift our honorees.  

Heather Abraham from KDKA-TV emceed the event where each honoree was highlighted with a brief interview about their projects, journeys, passions and hopes for the future of our region. They were then called to the stage to accept their award while a hand-picked “walk up song” played.  

Compared to previous years, the 2024 event focused more on spotlighting the honorees’ inventive talents and maverick mindsets, utilizing bright colors, modern music and digital signage to portray the honorees’ willingness to lean into the future. 

In addition to celebrating these young changemakers, the ceremony also allowed for intergenerational networking as prominent community and business leaders chatted with the honorees about potential partnership opportunities and areas for support.  

To prepare for the event and networking opportunities, the honorees virtually attended the Intern to VP ® Professional Branding and Leadership Development Training Program presented by Moments of Focus LLC in the weeks leading up to the recognition ceremony, where they learned the importance of personal branding, networking and professional development. 

In addition to family members, friends, teachers, community members, and business leaders, many organizations across the region also showed their support for the honorees through event partnerships. 

Over 15 prominent corporations like presenting partner EQT, Lamar Advertising, Koppers, PPG, FedEx, Olympus Energy, Range Resources, TriState Capital Bank, Peoples Natural Gas, and more showed their support through monetary donations and gifts. Lamar Advertising put all 18 honorees on billboards throughout the region, EQT donated custom sweatshirts and Chick-Fil-A and Millie’s Ice Cream respectively donated free sandwiches and ice cream to the honorees for an entire year. Furthermore, many of the partners, guest speakers and business professionals have encouraged the honorees to reach out to them for advice and support as they continue their journeys. 

The evening wasn’t all business, though – the honorees also received a VIP tour of Acrisure Stadium prior to the ceremony where they continued to form friendships, learned about the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, walked on the field, and even saw themselves on the jumbotron.  

Image caption: The honorees on their VIP tour of Acrisure Stadium

18 Under Eighteen: The Future 

Now that the recognition ceremony has passed, what’s next for the 2024 honoree class? With their innovative mindsets and desire for positive change, there’s no telling what strides they’ll make personally, professionally and for the future of our region.  

Going forward, we hope that they continue to grow their businesses and initiatives, develop friendships with their fellow honorees, build prosperous partnerships and find a supportive community to uplift and propel them forward. From family members and friends to large corporations, the next generation leaders of our region benefit immensely from mentorships, appreciation and a village of empowering supporters.   

Thank you to everyone who supported our 2024 honoree class. Click here to rewatch the event and mark your calendars for September when nominations open for the class of 2025.  

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