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Students Receive Special Gift from Pratt & Whitney at Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation 'Senior Send Off'

By Barbara Bresnahan | Correspondent
Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation recently celebrated the college acceptances of the 14 members of the Class of 2014 at a "Senior Send Off" held at On20 in Hartford, Conn.

The May 1 event not only acknowledged this significant milestone in the students' college journeys, but also served as a fundraiser for the foundation.

Ben Hollenshead, a manager for Global Supply Chain at Pratt & Whitney, is on the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation Board of Directors. He explained that the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation provides academic programs that increase college access for Hartford school children. "Students are recruited in the sixth- or seventh-grade timeframe for HYSF's Steppingstone Academy," he explained.

Hollenshead said the foundation knows these children are interested in pushing themselves academically, since those wanting to join the Steppingstone Academy understand that the program requires a commitment throughout the summer as well as after school several days a week during the regular academic year.

Because of student commitment and the support and preparation offered by the academy, Steppingstone scholars are often accepted into some of the most prestigious independent high schools in the state and country. Upon graduating, many Steppingstone scholars end up attending the college of their choice, as well.

The Senior Send Off was attended not only by the new high school graduates and their families, but by sponsors, staff and volunteers.

"Board members are all here, as well," said Hollenshead. "Whether it's the Travelers, Hartford Steam Boiler, etc., there are about 30 of us on the board representing a wide variety of businesses, schools and organizations within the Hartford community, all focused on achieving our mission of seeing a higher graduation and college attendance rate."

Board member and Trinity College President James Jones, Jr., was also on hand, as Steppingstone Academy and Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation administrative offices are housed on Trinity's campus.

As an added bonus to an already remarkable evening, Hollenshead presented graduating students with Nooks, courtesy of Pratt & Whitney.

For more information about the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation and the Steppingstone Academy, visit www.hysf.org.

Photo Credit

Barbara Bresnahan

Photo Captions

Photo 1: Heather Summerer, Jeff Ongley and Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation Board Member Ben Hollenshead, all of Pratt & Whitney, were on hand for the festivities on May 1.

Photo 2: Scott Conners, vice chair, Board of Directors of the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation, welcomes guests to the third annual Senior Send Off on May 1, 2014.

Photo 3: Graduating student Diomand Henry introduced herself at the Senior Send Off. Henry was one of 14 students being honored that evening.

Photo 4: Wenell St. Hill, Class of 2014 Hartford Academy of the Arts, gave a testimonial about the Steppingstone Academy and how it has positively affected her life.

Photo 5: Tianna Edwards will be graduating from the Watkinson School this spring. She was one of 14 graduating seniors who were recognized for their success in the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation's Steppingstone Academy.

Photo 6: Pratima Singh, who is graduating from the Berkshire School this spring, gave a humorous speech while at the podium during the Senior Send Off event.

Photo 7: Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation Board Member Ben Hollenshead, a manager of Global Supply Chain at Pratt & Whitney, presented each of the 14 graduating high school seniors with the gift of a Nook.