On February 2, the Comcast Foundation and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney honored two local students with the Gustave G. Amsterdam Leadership Award at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mayoral Luncheon. Comcast Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer David L. Cohen presented Fakira Awawdeh and Widchard Faustin with individual $5,000 scholarship awards at the luncheon, held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.
Finalists for the Gus Amsterdam Leadership Awards are chosen from the winners of the Comcast Foundation’s Leaders and Achievers scholarships. The nationwide Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program recognizes students for academic achievement, leadership skills, and a commitment to community service. The Gus Amsterdam award targets students who attended high school in Philadelphia and are continuing their education at a college or university in the city.
“Fakira and Widchard are two shining examples of the promise of this city as we look to the future and the contributions of the next generation,” said Cohen. “I know Gus would be proud of their dedication and commitment to furthering themselves while helping others.”
Fakira Awawdeh has made education her priority despite many obstacles in her young life including resistance from her family in Palestine. She graduated from Kensington Health Sciences Academy as the salutatorian and is the first female in her extended family with a high school diploma. Now at the Community College of Philadelphia, Fakira is studying to be a nurse, with a goal of helping the region’s elderly following her graduation.
Widchard Faustin is pursuing a degree in computer science at Drexel University, planning to work in engineering one day. It is a fitting career path for someone who is dedicated to combining his love of science with helping others. Widchard maintained a 4.0 grade point average at Central High School and served as the vice president of Game Central, a club to help shy and younger students socialize with peers through technology. His academic excellence has not waned since beginning college, earning a 4.0 in his first semester of college.
Gus Amsterdam was a Philadelphia business leader, community advocate, and founding board member of Comcast Corporation. He dedicated much of his time and energy to the community and to improving education. A graduate of Central High School and the University of Pennsylvania, Gus was committed to civic and educational activities in Philadelphia throughout his life.
The goals of the Leaders and Achievers scholarship program are:
- To give young people — the leaders who will build and shape our communities — every opportunity to be prepared for the future.
- To engage youth in their communities and help them increase their self-esteem, develop a sense of citizenship and an ethic of service, and become stronger leaders.
- To demonstrate the importance of civic involvement and the value placed on civic involvement by the business community.
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