ABOVE PHOTO: Front row, left to right: Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake (IBX Foundation); Dr. Donald “Guy” Generals (President, CCP); Esther Ponnocks (Daniel Veloric Foundation). Second row, left to right: Gregory Murphy (CCP-VP of Advancement); Jennifer Myers (winner of the Jack Kent Cook scholarship) Ron Davis (Parx Casino). Back row, left to right: Craig Stock (CCP Foundation director) Bruce Caswell (CCP Foundation director) (Photo: Solomon Williams)
Recognizing those who help college students keep their eye on the prize
Community College of Philadelphia hosted a scholarship reception on May 17 that brought donors together with the students their donations recognize and assist.
The event, held at the Pavilion Building on the Main Campus, gave students an opportunity to mingle with a growing network of Philadelphians who support them, and whose donations make it possible for the students to remain in school and complete their education.
Ron Davis, director of diversity and community development at Parx Casino & Racing, spoke on behalf of donors at the event. Parx has established a scholarship that recognizes members of the College’s nationally acclaimed Center for Male Engagement, which provides targeted academic and non-academic support designed for minority males and students at risk.
“I wanted to give back to young African American men who I did not know,” Davis said. “Parx and Community College of Philadelphia have given me and my colleagues that opportunity.”
Davis, a former National Football League player, and his employer are providing CME $10,000 a year to fund the Strong Lives, Strong Futures, Strong Men Scholarship, which will go toward tuition, fees, books or other college needs to qualified students enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia. Students must be active participants at the Center for Male Engagement, and must have attended “Real Talk” sessions, the informal group discussions held bimonthly at the Center.
Community College of Philadelphia has more than 100 scholarships and awards in all. This year, it awarded 654 students a total of just over $500,000 in scholarships. These scholarships — which recognize academics, leadership, service and more — supplement tuition costs. Scholarship funds are used to cover tuition and fees, but any funds remaining are given to the student to assist with the cost of books, supplies, transportation and other necessities.
In the audience at the reception was Timeka Ponds, the second winner of the College’s J. Whyatt Mondesire Community Impact Scholarship, which shines a light on youth leaders, and gives voice to their issues and concerns. Mondesire, who died in October 2015, was known throughout the city for his activism and role in broadening the scope and lens of journalism.
A dedicated journalist, Mondesire was publisher of the Philadelphia Sunday SUN, and before that a reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He also worked as assistant city desk editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and was a top aide to U.S. Rep. William H. Gray, during which he advocated for many issues, including voting rights and sanctions against South Africa.
Ponds is an admirer of Mondesire and, like him, a writer who seeks to develop a powerful voice as an activist and change agent.
‘This is only the beginning for me, and upon graduation, I plan on attending graduate school and going as far as I can go with my education,” Ponds said. “My plan is to gather all the education I can and ultimately pass it along to others by way of teaching, or even publishing reading materials. I am a strong believer that each one teaches one.
“A huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders because of the generosity that continues to help students like me in their time of need, and for a good cause. There are not enough words that this English major can muster up to even began to thank you all so very much from my heart for your support. I will use the money cautiously and purposefully for the benefit of furthering my education,” she said.