SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums announced the 2022 Ubora Award and Ahadi Youth Award winners.
Now in its 31st year of celebrating leadership by people of African heritage, the Ubora Award honors Dr. Gerald Cutting and Carol Moore Cutting as exemplary leaders and role models. Meanwhile, the 13th Ahadi Youth Award honors the activist energy and artistic power of Kayla Staley.
The Ubora Award and the Ahadi Youth Award — conferred annually by the African Hall Subcommittee of the Springfield Museums — are awarded to black leaders from Greater Springfield who have gone above and beyond in demonstrating commitment to fields of community service, education, science, humanities, and/or the arts. The award ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Wood Museum of Springfield History.
Dr. Gerald Cutting is the first and only African-American individual to own and operate a veterinary hospital and clinic in Western Mass. At age 11, he decided he wanted to be a veterinarian so he could help save animals. After graduating as a doctor of veterinary medicine from Tuskegee University in Alabama, he worked hard to achieve this dream of owning his own practice, mentoring and encouraging students to explore STEM careers. For almost 50 years until his retirement, he lived his dream of serving multiple generations of ‘pet parents’ at his clinic in Chicopee.
With the goal of connecting community through communication, Carol Moore Cutting applied in 1984 to the Federal Communications Commission for a radio frequency permitting her to build a FM station. After an exhaustive 15-year legal battle with an existing broadcaster, she prevailed all the way to the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals, and finally began test broadcasting in 1999. She became the first woman in Massachusetts and the first African-American in New England to be granted a construction permit to build, own, and continuously operate an FM radio station, WEIB-106.3 Smooth FM.
Kayla Staley is a rising senior at the Conservatory of the Arts in Springfield, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and earning more than $20,000 in vocal scholarships since January 2021, as she was selected to receive private coaching and lessons from Broadway stars, college professors, summer overnight music intensive enrichment camps, and master classes with Broadway coaches. She is a frequent guest artist with Grammy winner Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G), and she often performs in the community. Staley is among two students from the Conservatory of the Arts accepted into the Massachusetts Music Educator’s Assoc. Western Regional Honors Festival Choir, the first time in 20 years any student has represented the city of Springfield in this event.