Ego of the Week: Anea Moore
Meet the Philly native who is Penn’s biggest education advocate.
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Intended Major/Minor/School: College Major in Sociology and Urban Studies, Minor in Africana Studies
Activities: Penn First Board, Co–Chair of Collective Success, Netter Center, FGLI Advocate
Between raising her young choral prodigies at the Henry C. Lea Elementary School and writing two senior theses, Anea Moore made time in her busy schedule to tell Street about her hectic yet fulfilling time here at Penn.
34th Street Magazine: What was it like growing up in Philadelphia?
Anea Moore: I grew up in Philly, but the part of Philly that most kids are often pretty wary of. When I was young I went to what most would call not the greatest school, but I don’t really like calling schools good or bad, particularly public schools in the city. But I ended up getting really lucky and got to go to one of the greatest public high schools in the city through some really lucky circumstances, which also happened to be one of the schools that Penn primarily pulls students from, and so here I am.
Street: That’s incredible. You’ve clearly worked very hard to get to this point. How has your time here at Penn been these past four years?
AM: My senior year of high school my dad died, and during my freshman year at Penn my mom died about halfway through my first semester. Life really sucked at that point, but instead of just sitting down and taking it, I knew I had to pick myself back up because they had always put so much effort into me. My dad was an only child and my mom had two kids, but my sister is fifteen years older than me so I did have "only child syndrome" a lot of my life because they focused so much of their time on me. So I was like, "I’m gonna pick myself back up."
Street: What kind of things have you been involved in at Penn in the past or are currently involved in?
AM: I say I’m an education advocate both on and off campus. A lot of my on–campus work involves working the first–generation low–income student (FGLI) programs. I was on the Penn First board for the first two years of its conception, which was crazy leading a club that is as big as it is now. I chaired 1vyG during my junior year, the largest FGLI student conference in the world, which was incredibly rewarding once it was over (but during it, not so much). Now, I’m co–chairing a FGLI student group called Collective Success, which is in its second year now. Off–campus, I’ve been involved in the Netter Center since the second month of my first year here and right now, I’m chairing their student advisory board. I was actually selected for that position by Netter Center leadership staff because I was already involved in a quite a few things there, including being a choir teacher for the Music and Social Change program at the Netter Center. For my first three years, I was either co–directing or assistant directing a K–3 choir at the Lea school and now I’m assistant director to a 3–5th grade and a 6th–8th grade choir this year. I also began doing some community and family engagement work at the school during my second year at Lea and have been heavily involved with that since.
Street: Wow. Sounds like you definitely keep yourself occupied! Do you have any favorite memories from working at the Netter Center?
AM: So last year, I spent two weeks straight helping the kids prepare for Lea’s first play in decades, which was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’m not gonna lie, at first it was pretty rough. We couldn’t remember our scenes, kids were forgetting their lines. I remember that the Friday night before our first performance, I sat down with this seventh grader at the time who was having trouble remembering some of his lines and we were just yelling his lines back and forth for a while, trying to help him get them down, and usually he’s a pretty stubborn kid but by the end, you could tell he was just really into it and that he was super enthusiastic about it. So once we finished, our performance was in three hours and I told him to go back home, get changed, and get ready for the final performance. And that night, they all performed and the whole thing was flawless. Nobody forgot their lines, everything went perfectly (except I forgot to close the curtain at the end). Then at the end, the drama teacher brought me out, and the kids pulled down the curtain and ran up and just hugged me at the end. The Oompa Loompas’ wigs were falling apart, confetti was everywhere, and it was just such a special moment.
Street: Looking back on everything, what about Penn do you think you will miss most of all once you leave?
AM: I fear this every once in a while, but the idea that after I graduate my friends won’t be a walking distance away is sad to think about. Me and two of my friends try to have dinner every Tuesday night, so it really scares me that I won’t have that any more. I think what also scares me as a first–generation low–income student is not having Penn’s backing of financial resources. My aunts and uncles will obviously help me and try to teach me, but when you don’t have a mom and dad to teach you that stuff it is always like, "How am I going to learn this, and how am I going to be a fully functioning financial adult?" So I guess the whole adulting thing is something I’m scared of.
Street: Do you have any plans for the future as of now?
AM: I have no idea right now. I’m really passionate about a few things that I’ve applied to already, but the chances of getting into them are typically pretty slim. I’m really hoping to go to the UK and pursue a graduate education, which I say very hesitantly, but I want to go there because I want to continue working on family welfare research and the UK is at the forefront of family engagement policy in schools, in particular. If I don’t get any of those, I’m hoping to work either for the government or an organization that is really focused on community economic development or helping low–income families and populations gain access to educational resources.
Street: Is there anything else you want me to add or anything else you want readers to know about?
AM: I do a lot of the things I do for my parents, because I recognize that I would not be able to do them without their investment over the first 18 years of my life. I’m really committed towards helping first–generation low–income students both on and off–campus and around the world because my parents never got the chance to go to college, and they really wanted to. So yeah, I do a lot of my things in their memory, but I think one critical thing I’ve learned to do here at Penn is to do these things for myself, which has also been really great.
Street: Something you can’t go anywhere without?
AM: My headphones (which I actually just lost two days ago)
Street: Go to karaoke song?
AM: Irreplaceable by Beyonce
Street: Describe your past four years here at Penn in one word?
Street: Favorite spot on campus?
AM: One of my friends’ rooms
Street: Favorite place to eat in Philly?
AM: Ms. Tootsie’s, Lea, or my aunt’s house
Street: Favorite show ATM?
AM: I’m a huge anime fan, so I’m definitely revealing my nerdy side here, but Naruto has always been a favorite of mine
Street: There are two types of people here at Penn..
AM: Those who are sane, and those who are insane
Street: And you are…
AM: Probably the insane
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