St. Sebastian Society

The St. Sebastian Society is a group of varsity and club student-athletes dedicated to serving the greater Rochester community. We provide service opportunities throughout the year with the understanding that members’ level of participation will vary when they are in season.

One of our main outreach opportunities is the Yes Pa Program, which gives students the opportunity to teach a course to inmates at the Monroe Correctional Facility based on the book by Rochester native Fred Sarkis.

Additionally, we help coordinate Agape Latte once a semester. This program allows students to see a professor or faculty member outside of the classroom and in a peer to peer environment. The speaker will usually share relatable advice, guidance, and stories with the crowd.

We also host the annual Newman Cup, a 5 v 5 basketball tournament to raise money for La Casa–an organization that provides resources to migrant farmworkers in Monroe County.

The group is also involved with tutoring at a local middle school, Nativity Preparatory Academy.

All of the events are very rewarding and great opportunities to make a difference.

The Fred Sarkis Yes Pa Student-Athlete Award

Fred Sarkis, born in 1926 in Rochester, NY, was the oldest son in a family with nine children. Working hard as a child, Mr. Sarkis learned a lot from his father before entering the navy to serve during World War II. Returning home after the war, Mr. Sarkis returned home and used what his father taught him, becoming a successful businessman. Upon retiring at age 65, Mr. Sarkis created the not-for-profit Yes Pa Character Education Program. Named after his Pa, who had meant so much to him and taught him so much, Mr. Sarkis wanted to create a program to help others how he was helped. And now, over twenty years later, Yes Pa is a huge program to help teach individuals learn more about character and responsibility.

The Yes Pa Character Education Program has become an integral part of Saint Sebastian Society and our work mentoring young adults in the County Jail. We are proud to honor two University of Rochester Student-Athletes and St. Sebastian Society members who seek to live the qualities many others have so fondly seen in Mr. Sarkis.

Selected nominees will be awarded with a $250 scholarship. If you are interested, please fill out the application by the last day of class in the Spring semester.

Past recipients of the award include the following student-athletes:


Name Class Year Major(s)
Christopher Bushnell 2023 Pre-Med
Ryan Algier 2022 Business and Data Science
Marissa Russo 2021 Brain and Cognitive Sciences
David Rieth 2020 Financial Economics
Brendan Shamieh 2020 Financial Economics
Shannon Cahalan 2019 Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Psychology
Vanessa Davis 2018 Molecular Genetics
Tyler Schmidt 2018 Data Science
Jennifer Hennig 2017 Bioethics and Psychology
Sarah Kaminsky 2017 Chemical Engineering
Anya Joynt 2016 Molecular Genetics
Patrick Walch 2016 Health, Behavior, & Society and Nursing