Springfield Museums Announce 2019 Ubora And Ahadi Award Winners

Springfield Museums Announce 2019 Ubora and Ahadi Award Winners

The African Hall Subcommittee of the Springfield Science Museum announces the 28th annual Ubora Award and the 10th annual Ahadi Youth Award winners.Ubora Award Logo

The 2019 Ubora Award recipient is Andrew R. Cade, Vice President of the Urban League of Springfield. (Bio below.) Cade responded to winning the Ubora Award with this statement.

“I am incredibly honored, humbled, and excited to be selected to receive the prestigious 2019 Ubora Award. To be among the distinguished class of those who have come before me to receive this award is truly amazing.”

The 2019 Ahadi Youth Award recipient is Michael Denson Jr. of the Sabis International Charter School. (Bio below.) Denson responded to winning the Ahadi Youth Award with this statement.

“I am truly blessed and humbled to have been awarded the 2019 Ahadi Youth Award. Being selected as the youth individual in Springfield to receive this award fills me with so much gratitude. I would not be able to accept this award without giving thanks to my community and my family for shaping me into the young man that I am today. I am proud to be a resident of Springfield and thankful that it allows me to give back in so many different ways. Being able to serve my community in so many aspects throughout my youth has become something very meaningful to me. There is so much more that needs to be done and I plan to continue my community service for years to come. For me, community service is a selfless act or acts of kindness that one person does without any expectations of receiving something in return, except for a feeling of doing something good for someone else. Helping others is something we should all strive to do and one of the best ways to do that is through community service.”

Conferred by the African Hall Subcommittee—a volunteer group comprised of educators, business people, and community leaders from the African-American community—the prestigious Ubora and Ahadi Youth awards honor African-American people from Greater Springfield who have—above and beyond—demonstrated commitment to fields of community service, education, science, humanities, and/or the arts.

True to the Swahili word that comprises its name, the Ubora Award recognizes an adult of African heritage who exemplifies excellence in their commitment to creating a better community through service. Named for the Swahili word for promise, the Ahadi Youth Award is presented to a young African American who excels in academics and performs admirable service to the Greater Springfield community. Eligible candidates must be age 19 or younger, live in or have strong ties to the Greater Springfield area, and be currently enrolled in grades 10, 11, or 12.

Cade and Denson Jr. will be honored at a ceremony at the Springfield Museums September 21.  For additional information, please call 413-263-6800, ext. 325, or email to vcavagni@springfieldmuseums.org.

About the Winners

Ubora Award Winner: Andrew Cade is considered by many as the voice of the black community. A longtime disc jockey Cade opens his show daily to allow people from the community to inform listeners about issues and events. As a volunteer, he makes certain there is a place at the table for those who do not otherwise have a chance to say their piece.

“Cade has been a fixture in the City of Springfield since he arrived from Alabama forty plus years ago to attend American International College,” said Denise Jordan, Executive Director of the Springfield Housing Authority. Jordan nominated Cade for this recognition.

Cade got his start as a disc jockey at WAIC before moving on to become a radio personality for WTCC, 90.7FM. There he has served as the host of “Inspirationally Gentle,” every Thursday from 6-9 am for decades. Cade opens a portion of his show to a public forum where people from the community go on air to inform listeners about issues and events. Cade also serves as the co-host of the Urban League’s Community Focus radio show that follows his WTCC show at 9 am.

Jordan refers to Cade as the consummate volunteer who goes over and above to make sure his work is helpful to those in need. In addition to serving as Vice President of the Urban League of Springfield and watching out particularly to helping seniors, Cade has a long list of organizations for which he lends a hand.

He has been involved as the Entertainment Coordinator for the Stone Soul Festival for over 25 years; he is a member of the Brianna Fund for children with physical disabilities, the Carl Joseph Walker Hoover Foundation against Childhood Bullying, Women Who Are Legends, and St. John’s First Lady’s Luncheon Committee. Cade also spearheaded all of the marketing and promotion, entertainment and stage coordination for the citywide Resurrection Sunday that took place at Symphony Hall. This event was the first of its kind and had over 2,500 attendees, leaving hundreds unable to attend as the event reached seating capacity!

Cade is the Event Coordinator for The Brethren’s Annual Community Celebration, Juneteenth. Always trying to provide entertainment opportunities, he founded Ujima, a social organization that hosts bus trips to plays, concerts, and sports events out of area. Ujima was also responsible for establishing popular line dancing instructions in Springfield. An avid lover of tennis, Cade taught youth tennis for decades and was instrumental in the establishment of Moving on Up with Tennis and Education in the City of Springfield. Cade served as the Vice President of the Academic Athletics Arts Achievement Association, affectionately known as 5A Football, for over twenty years.

“In addition to the numerous community organizations Andrew serves, he also finds time to give back to the City he calls home,” Jordan said. Cade is the Chair and Commissioner for the Springfield Cultural Council, and serves as a member of the Springfield License Commission.

“Andrew always steps up when he sees the need, lending his expertise in entertainment, marketing and promotion to any organization seeking him out,” Jordan said. “He never seeks recognition or accolades,” she added. “He is truly deserving to be considered for this year’s Ubora Award.”

Ahadi Youth Award Winner: Michael Gary Denson Jr. is the son of Michael Denson Sr. and Sheree Denson. He was born and raised in Springfield, MA, and is a high school senior at Sabis International Charter School.

In his senior year, Denson Jr. was selected to be the Deputy Head Prefect of the Activities Department of his school’s Student Life Organization. He has served as a mentor to an elementary school student for the past four years of high school, and his school awarded him “most consistent” with his school work.

Recognized for his leadership potential, Denson Jr. traveled on an all-expense-paid trip to Athens, Greece, for a ten-day leadership conference in 2018. He has been a member of the National Honor Society for the past four years and, as a member of that society, Denson Jr. was given the opportunity to tour Europe, visiting London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels.  He has also been recognized for his speech-making skills, winning first place in the 2017 Senator Edward W. Brooks III Oratorical Competition for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc- Theta Iota Lambda Chapter in Springfield, Massachusetts.  In the summer of 2018, he had an amazing opportunity to intern for Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Denson Jr. puts in quite a bit of volunteer time. He served as the first Teen Vice President of the Western Massachusetts Chapter of Jack and Jill, Inc.  He is an active member of St. John’s Congregational Church, serving as a Junior Usher and a member of the Liturgical Dance Ministry. Denson Jr. helps with many community activities, including the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Denson Jr. has been accepted into twelve colleges and universities. He will choose a school that is academically enriched and socially diverse. Denson Jr. strives to be successful and he believes that starts with being able to get a solid education from the right school.  His goal is to become an orthodontist, practicing in New York City.

Denson Jr. said he believes in giving back and would use his degree to offer services to  communities not able to afford the high expenses of dental care.