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Academic Foundation

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The mission of the Laurel Highlands Academic Foundation is to acquire and distribute resources to the Laurel Highlands School District for programs and projects aimed at enhancing, enriching, and/or supplementing learning opportunities for the students.


About Us

The Laurel Highlands Academic Foundation was established on April 22, 1996, by friends of the Laurel Highlands School District. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees who operate independently from the Laurel Highlands Board of Education.  The goals of the Trustees are to provide resources for additional enrichment activities, programs, and unique student learning needs by holding fundraising events and soliciting individual and corporate contributions.  The Trustees are responsible for determining guidelines for project funding, the selection of programs to fund, and the raising, dispersing, and reporting of the funds.  To apply for funding from the Foundation, district teachers submit a grant application and present their desired program at a Trustee meeting.  

Programs and Services

During the past 17 years, the Foundation has awarded over $273,000 toward the sponsorship of a variety of educational programs, scholarships, and creative classroom projects throughout the Laurel Highlands School District.  Some examples include the following:

LH Outdoor School at Jumonville
LH Academy of Fine Arts - music workshops, instruments, and audio equipment

Elementary Family Reading Nights

Family Literacy Game Night
Smithsonian Plant and Development Study
Battle of the Books Program
NASA Challenger Learning Center Program
Carnegie Science Center Programs
Touchstone Center for Crafts Program
Triple B Farms Programs
State Theatre for the Arts Programs
Junior Achievement
Quiz League
Classroom math games
Books for all 1st-grade students

In addition, the Foundation was instrumental in helping to establish the following scholarship and education funds:  James E. Tobal Education Fund, Michael S. Carbonara Memorial Educational Fund, the LH Music Education Fund,  and the LH Mustang Academic Scholarship Fund.  Application forms for the scholarship funds are available on the Community Foundation of Fayette County’s website.


Special Events and Community Participation

All monies raised from the Foundation’s special events are returned back to the School District by way of teacher mini-grants and the sponsoring of various educational programs throughout the District.  Examples of fundraising events sponsored by the Foundation in current and prior years include Community Spirit Day in the fall, and the Musical Dinner, Auction, and Concession in the spring.

Ongoing opportunities exist for the community to become involved with the Foundation.  We welcome volunteers to apply to join the Board of Trustees or to help with our various programs and projects.  To become involved, please contact Mr. Vince Soom at (724) 438-6611.  Your time and ideas are welcome!  If you would like to help support the Foundation’s educational efforts monetarily, tax-deductible contributions can be made to:


Laurel Highlands Academic Foundation

c/o Mrs. Joanne Phillian, Treasurer

70 Wiggins Lane

Uniontown, PA  15401


Laurel Highlands Academic Foundation Board of Trustees

Vince Soom – President

Joanne Phillian – Treasurer

Judy Gallis – Secretary

Ed Kolencik – School Board Representative

Dr. Jesse Wallace – School District Representative

Bobbi Downs – School District Recording Secretary

Matthew South - Student Representative

Cathy Brady

Gary Carter

Ira Chrise

Karen Chrise

Corey DeHaas

Inez Felix

Shawn Golden

Susan Golden

Rob Hartsek

Pam Hughes

Adele Packrone

Heather Peccon

Meg Radolec

Casey Sirochman


There is currently one open Student Representative position.



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