Young Scholars

A local youth program, Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program (YSLPP), has received $1 million in funding to enhance and grow its programming for area students. Through the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, donors Dr. John and Deanna Sammon established a fund—the John and Deanna Sammon Fund for Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program—to provide support for years to come.

“Deanna and I are pleased to contribute to the already successful Young Scholars program as it combines our interests in education, charity, and the Utica community,” said Dr. Sammon, chairman emeritus and founder of PAR Technology. “We have followed the success of the program from its early days when students were bussed to PAR’s New Harford headquarters where employees would volunteer their time to provide tutoring in math and science. With strong leadership and community support, the program has evolved over many years, transforming the lives of Young Scholars while providing hope to their families.”

YSLPP was established in 1993 with Utica College and the Utica City School District as a way to motivate diverse and talented students with potential to stay in school, earn a New York State Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation, and pursue post-secondary education. Students participating in the program engage in academic, social, and cultural activities that enable them to grow both personally and professionally.

"The Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program at Utica College has a longstanding tradition of excellence, having mentored more than 1,300 students in its 28-year history of partnering with the Utica City School District," said Laura Casamento, president of Utica College. "This very generous gift from the Sammon family will ensure that we can continue and expand this most valuable partnership, helping talented students realize their full potential. In addition, more than two-thirds of successful Young Scholars graduates live and work in the Utica area, helping to further strengthen our community."

Students that are enrolled have a 94% graduation rate with more than 86% going on to college—outcomes that speak to the successful model that this collaboration has built. Candidates for the program are nominated by sixth grade teachers in the school district. Each year, YSLPP serves more than 350 students for a 6-year term of 7-12 grade. The contribution from the Sammon family will enable Young Scholars LPP to expand and strengthen its programming and services.

“I am so humbled by this gift from Dr. John and Deanna Sammon,” said Pamela Matt, executive director of Young Scholars LPP. “Their generosity and vision have opened up new opportunities for students from the Utica area. Future Young Scholars who go on to college and careers will be able to say that the Sammon family played a large part in making that possible.”

Inspired by the longtime success of the program, the Sammon family also recently established the John and Deanna Sammon Young Scholars Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation to support the educational endeavors of these students after they graduate from the program.

“We believe in the core mission of engaging at risk youth at an early stage with the promise of higher education,” said Dr. Sammon. “We recognize that Young Scholars are the children of Utica with great potential but who face many social challenges and obstacles which can impede the realization of a college degree. The program provides so many of the critical components of support and guidance that put a person on a path to success through education. Many lives have been positively impacted through Young Scholars, and it is our sincere wish that the curriculum remains strong going forward."

Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program and the Sammons urge those who would like to support this program to consider making a tax-deductible charitable contribution to the fund at

Photo caption: Senior ceremony for Young Scholars students.

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