Philadelphia Woman Wins Manor College’s Mother Josaphat Medal

Tamara Ellerbe, a senior at Manor College studying Human Services, received the college’s most prestigious award during a ceremony on January 25, 2024. 

Ellerbe receives the Mother Josaphat Medal from Provincial of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, Sister Joann Sosler, OSBM

Tamara Ellerbe (Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical High School) of Philadelphia, became the 2024 Mother Josaphat Medal Recipient. Ellerbe is a senior studying Human Services at Manor College. 

“Being the first Black woman to win the Mother Josaphat Medal carries a profound sense of pride not just for myself, but for a broader audience,” Ellerbe said. “I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude for receiving this award. I am thankful to Manor College. They have opened so many doors and opportunities for me. Thank you for making me feel like I belong here.”

The Mother Josaphat Medal is a student award presented to a Manor College student who exhibits a responsible lifestyle evidenced through reverence, respect and service. The medal is the highest honor for a student at the college.

“Tamara is always the first student to greet a new person as they walk by her in the Dining Hall,” Janeen Smith, Director of Dining Services at Manor College, said. “Since I joined the team at Manor, Tamara has given her time and talents at many events. She is always happy, willing to help when asked and never negative. She is a great representation of the type of student who leads by example.”

At Manor College, Ellerbe is a Presidential Ambassador and is often found giving tours around campus to incoming students. One professor who nominated Ellerbe for the award said that her presence on campus goes beyond her official Presidential Ambassador capacity. 

“She knows that people need help and she wants to be the one to serve them,” the nominator wrote. “Tamara is someone who always asks the question, ‘what can I help you with?’ What is most amazing to me is that she is known by the other Manor students as someone they can turn to. She has helped multiple students this year find outfits for job interviews from our career closet and is often seen cleaning up in the dining hall or jumping in to help during an event.”

A second nominator wrote, “Despite not using the bus herself, when she heard that SEPTA may take away the stop for commuter students, she took action and took up a petition to try to stop them from taking away the stop. She exhibits caring behavior, always making visitors feel welcome or asking how another student is doing with their day. She truly goes above and beyond for others.” 

WATCH: Meet Tamara Ellerbe

In addition to Ellerbe, four other students were named finalists for the Mother Josaphat Medal.

Sylvania Juste (Samuel Fels High School, Philadelphia)

Sylvania Juste is a sophomore at Manor College studying Pre-Nursing. On campus, Sylvania is a Presidential Ambassador and a member of the women’s soccer team. Outside of campus, she works a full-time job delivering pizzas, finds time to volunteer at her church and helps with her younger siblings and nephews. 

Meet Sylvania Juste

Natasha Moore (Covington Academy,, Philadelphia)

Natasha Moore is a sophomore at Manor College studying for Business Administration. Natasha is a Presidential Ambassador and a member of Student Senate and Campus Activities Board (CAB). She’s volunteered in events for the Rotary of Jenkintown and led a coat drive on campus for the homeless in Philadelphia.

Meet Natasha Moore

Hailey Ramirez (Little Flower Catholic High School, Philadelphia)

Hailey Ramirez is a senior at Manor College studying Criminal Justice. She is a member of many groups, including Student Senate and Rotaract. She is the Vice President of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and a Presidential Ambassador. In her free time, she gives back by donating clothes to women’s shelters and works full-time for a security company.

Meet Hailey Ramirez

Brooke Strassle (Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Conshohocken, Pa.)

Brooke Strassle is a senior at Manor College studying Child Development. At Manor College, she is a resident assistant in the Residence Hall, a member of the Women’s Volleyball team, a Presidential Ambassador and works as a preschool teacher in Jenkintown. She organized several volunteer opportunities including writing holiday cards for sailors on ships and sending holiday cards to a local senior living facility.

Meet Brooke Strassle

More on Founders Day

Manor College Celebrates 21st Founders Day

Philadelphia Woman Wins Mother Josaphat Medal

Jennifer Buechel Named 2024 Manor College Educator of the Year

Watch to all the Mother Josaphat Medal Finalist’s Speeches

Watch Dr. Joseph Gillespie’s Keynote Speech

Meet Dr. Joseph Gillespie

Learn More about the Mother Josaphat Medal

Hear from Past Mother Josaphat Medal Winners

See Photos from Founders Day

See Photos from our Tea with the Sisters