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

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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

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