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The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) honored Catto’s legacy by hosting the inaugural Catto Legacy Awards. Photo: CCP
The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) honored Catto’s legacy by hosting the inaugural Catto Legacy Awards. Photo: CCP

The Community College of Philadelphia holds inaugural Catto Legacy Awards

The event was held by the community college to honor Octavius V. Catto and the first round of students to graduate under an Octavius Catto Scholarship.

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Educator and civil rights activist Octavius V. Catto’s birthday is on Feb. 22. Born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1839, Catto would eventually relocate to Philadelphia. 

In Philly, Catto became a teacher of mathematics and english, and a prominent civil rights activist. He was also a remarkably skilled baseball and cricket player.

This Tuesday, on Catto’s birthday, the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) honored Catto’s legacy by hosting the inaugural Catto Legacy Awards, acknowledging the nearly 500 students who have benefited from the Octavius Catto Scholarship.

Catto Scholars, at the college, are graduating students who have benefited from the school’s Octavius Catto Scholarship, and first-time and full-time students attending CCP debt-free.

The Octavius Catto Scholarship fully covers the cost of tuition, provides additional funding for books, and provides supplemental funding for transportation and food.

The scholarship also provides career coaching, specialized workshops, programming, and connections to resources like housing assistance and child care to ensure enhanced academic success.

The inaugural Catto Legacy Awards was held virtually via Zoom on Tuesday. Speakers for the Catto Legacy Awards included:

  • Dr. Donald “Guy” Generals, Community College of Philadelphia president
  • Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney
  • Idris Washington, class of 2021; the first graduate of the Octavius Catto Scholarship
  • Dr. April Voltz, executive director of the Octavius Catto Scholarship
  • Dr. Aubria Nance, associate director of the Octavius Catto Scholarship
  • Dr. David E. Thomas, vice president for Strategic Initiatives & Community Engagement at CCP
  • Richard Gordon IV, principal of Paul Robeson High School; 2020-21 National Principal of the Year
  • Additional student speakers

President Guy Generals took the lead in introducing the Catto Legacy Awards, before Mayor Jim Kenney took a moment to recognize the life and work of Octavius V. Catto and the accomplishments of the first Catto Scholar, Idris Washington.

Dr. David E. Thomas then shared a series of kind words honoring Washington’s achievements. Washington will be transiting to Temple University soon.

Richard Gordon IV noted his support of the Octavius Catto Scholarship, calling himself a champion of the program, and proud of any Robenson High alumni who are benefiting from the scholarship.

Gordon IV called the scholarship the “opportunity that [will] transform the city of Philadelphia.”

The awards then recognized a series of acknowledgments including “most improved” and “good academic standing,” also noting rising stars of the program.

Honor students who received a GPA above 3.2 were recognized in the honors categories, with the distinguished honors awardees following.

Other students with significant accomplishments such as Nysair Brooks, Sharhonda Hawkins, and Patrick Ulad-Lieuspoke shared how the scholarship positively affected their educational career. 

The Catto Legacy Awards closed out with a round of more personal awards, such as the student most likely to catch a mistake, or most likely to check in on their professor.  

Those interested may apply for the Octavius Catto Scholarship online, and will be contacted by a team member if qualified.

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