Five local students will be recognized and honored today by The Children’s Defense Fund’s (CDF) Beat the Odds® Scholarship program for their work to overcome adversity to excel in school and as leaders in their communities.
Every year, the CDF selects deserving high school sophomores in Los Angeles to participate in the scholarship program. Each participant receives a scholarship valued at either $10,000 or $1,000 to put towards their college expenses, as well as the chance to be honored at the annual Beat the Odds Awards celebration.
Additionally, scholarship recipients have access to college and career readiness support services throughout their college career and beyond, including ongoing mentoring, internship placements, leadership development, and career guidance. In partnership with the Fulfillment Fund, students also receive college counseling, SAT prep, and an opportunity to tour college campuses throughout California.
Since 1995, more 700 students across the nation have been awarded Beat the Odds scholarships. Alumni of the program have graduated from some of the nation's premier universities and serve in a diverse range of occupations.
This year the local recipients are: Chase Moore, a student at Verbum Dei High School who does not intend to let his past—a history of domestic violence by his father against his mother and siblings—prevent him from achieving his goal of attending college to become an engineer; Elizabeth Lopez, whose humble and hardworking gardener father and housekeeper mother, support a family of six—spends her evenings tutoring, mentoring preteen girls and serving as a Youth Ambassador for the Mar Vista Family Center. She intends to become an elementary school teacher.
Sequoia Canada, understands first-hand the dangers of a drug-addicted household but luckily she had a grandmother she could turn to for protection. Canada wants to become a psychologist and looks forward to one day being able to adopt her siblings and take proper care of her grandmother.
Timothy Walker is a member of the youth organizing corps at Community Coalition, and is working to become the first in his family to attend college. He wants to become a teacher and plans to return to South Los Angeles and have a positive impact on other young students like himself.
Zachary Byrge is a three-sport athlete, at the top of his academic class and a leader at his school. He’s doing all of this while his family struggles to cope with the needs of a mother who first suffered a triple stroke and heart attack and is now fighting brain cancer. His life goal is to become a doctor.