The Community College of Philadelphia recently presented Distinguished Leadership Awards to six community leaders.
Stephen M. Curtis, CCP’s longtime president, hosted the April 30 ceremony, which took place at the college’s Northeast Regional Center at 12901 Townsend Road.
Honored were Nancy Morozin (business), John F. Swoyer III (education), Ed Neilson (public official), the Rev. James A. Callahan (faith-based), Jack McCarthy (community service) and Maura Lavelle (youth).
Here is some background on the award winners:
• Morozin owns and operates The Dining Car, a restaurant at 8826 Frankford Ave. in Holmesburg that has served more than 15 million meals and employed more than 25,000 people. The 260-seat diner and bakery is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except Christmas. She joined the family business, formerly the Torresdale Diner, in 1980. She has mentored others opening their first diners. She holds fundraisers for police officers, sponsors a police officer of the month club and provides baked goods for holiday parties for officers. The diner is a meeting space for the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Victim Service and the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame. In cooperation with Nazareth Hospital, Morozin developed the “Heartfare” section of the diner’s menu for health-conscious customers and those with dietary restrictions. She supports the Feast of Justice food bank and Aid For Friends. The night before the ceremony, she helped chairwoman Rose McMenamin produce a successful Hail to the Chefs event, which raised money for college scholarships for local young people.
• Swoyer is CEO of MaST Community Charter School. He started at the school in 2004 as the network support/network administrator and was later promoted to director of technology, assisting in developing the infrastructure of a new building. He was named chief information officer/chief operating officer in 2010 and elevated to his current position a year later. He works closely with parents and the high school student council. He has a degree in management of information systems from Philadelphia University and a master of business administration from Holy Family. MaST has a waiting list of more than 5,600 kids. It features a Wii fitness center and a spectacular library/media center.
• Neilson, a Democrat, represents the 169th Legislative District. He won a special election in April 2012. His priorities include job creation, protecting the elderly, improving public safety and education and addressing the problem of absentee landlords. He formerly served as director of government affairs and business development for a law firm and as deputy secretary for the state Department of Labor and Industry. Neilson has coached local youth sports teams and served as a Boy Scouts leader. He is a graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School and St. Joseph’s University and a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98.
• Callahan, a priest for 40 years, has been pastor of Christ the King Parish in Morrell Park for the last 13 years. He spent 10 years as pastor at Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish in West Philadelphia. Callahan serves on the advisory board for Archbishop Ryan High School president Mike McArdle, who attended the ceremony. Callahan is the past chairman of the Springfield Ministerium and Priests in Urban Ministry and past member of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Interparochial Commission. He is a big fan of the Philadelphia and Notre Dame sports teams. He attended St. Helena Grammar School and Cardinal Dougherty High School, where he was an All-Catholic baseball player and a reserve on a Catholic League championship basketball team. His uncle, the late Mayor James Tate, founded CCP in 1965.
• McCarthy is a certified archivist and longtime archival/historical consultant. He is project director of the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame and co-founder of the Northeast Philadelphia History Network, which received the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia’s Community Action Award in 2009. He is a member of the Northeast Philadelphia Coalition for Arts and Culture. McCarthy is working on projects with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He writes articles for the online magazine Hidden City Philadelphia. He’s written articles for the Northeast Times and is a former member of the Historical Society of Frankford. He has an associate’s degree in music from CCP and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Chester.
• Lavelle is a senior at Nazareth Academy High School. Sister Mary Joan, the principal, attended the ceremony. Lavelle has been a volunteer at a retirement home and a hospital. Over the last three summers, she has participated in service trips to improve the communities of Morgantown, W.Va., and Worcester, Mass. She spent a month in Ecuador helping construct a community center and building a playground for disabled children. She has a 4.1 grade point average out of 5.0. Her favorite classes are advanced-placement biology and calculus. Lavelle has been the captain of the track and field team for two years, competing in the 200 and 400 meters and the 4x100-meter relay. She will attend Villanova University and major in biology, with plans to enroll in medical school to become a forensic pathologist.
Al Taubenberger, president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, said the winners and those who received awards in the past are a good reflection of the Northeast.
“It shows the strength of Northeast Philadelphia and the dedication of its people to a better community,” Taubenberger said. ••