History of Hartford Youth Scholars

Launched in 2005 by the Mayor of Hartford, Eddie Perez, and several key leaders in the Hartford community: founding Chairman Karl Krapek, and founding board members Don Wilson, Tom Francoline, and Kelvin Roldan.   It was created as a Scholarship Program, a directive from the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission Report that recommended more students attend independent school given their impressive college placement record of success.

It soon became clear that scholarship aid was not the true obstacle to enrolling more Hartford students in area independent schools. If students could be prepared for the rigor of independent school, aid would subsequently be available for them.

HYS sought a partner in the Steppingstone Foundation in Boston, a leader in the preparing students for college through rigorous academic programs for over 20 years.

In 2006, the two organizations formed a partnership and the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation launched The Steppingstone Academy – Hartford, its first program.

Over time the program grew from a 14-month academic enrichment program with an 8th grade entry point, to a more comprehensive 26-month program commencing after 6th grade. Scholars enrolled in the program commit to three summers of intense academic study, and two full academic years of after-school and Saturday classes. The experience provides these Scholars with the foundation, skills and attitude to be successful in high school, and ultimately college.

The program has grown over the last 10 years to include more extensive support services for Scholars once they complete the 26-month Academy. They receive personal attention throughout high school, with special focus on college guidance and SAT preparation during their junior year, while college support encompasses career readiness and internship opportunities. HYS is committed to personalized support of these Scholars for a full 10 years, enabling them to graduate career ready.

In the time that the Hartford Youth Scholars has been in existence, over 45 students have graduated from independent schools in the region. In 2015, there are 52 high school students currently enrolled and on track to graduate over the next four years.


  • Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education


  • Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation created as a scholarship foundation


  • HYSF Partners with The Steppingstone Foundation, Boston


  • First class of 8th grade Scholars “Cohort 1” recruited


  • First class matriculates and enrolls in independent schools
  • Cohort 2 recruited


  • Cohort 3 recruited


  • Cohort 4 recruited
  • Program expands to 26 months


  • First class of 7th grade Scholars recruited
  • Cohort 5; science curriculum introduced at Summer Academy
  • Anthony Byers and Roxanna Miller become Co-Executive Directors


  • First class of high school graduates celebrated at inaugural Senior Send Off


  • Second class of high school graduates celebrated at the first HYSF Gala Fundraiser
  • Program has over 150 scholars enrolled and raises $500,000
  • HYS undergoes its first audit and receives a clean report
  • Social Justice History course introduced at Summer Academy


  • 170 scholars enrolled
  • Foundation designates eligibility to Hartford residents only
  • Over $600,000 raised
  • Organization receives second clean audit report
  • Spanish introduced to year round academy curriculum


  • Cohort 10 recruited
  • Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation changes name to Hartford Youth Scholars to more accurately describe the organization
  • Cohort 1 enters their senior year of college
  • Program has over 200 Scholars enrolled


  • First class of college graduates will be celebrated in June at Gala