Five Los Angeles high school students were recognized at Children’s Defense Fund – California’s 25th annual Beat the Odds® Awards gala on Dec. 3. The five honorees – Jaegeun David Cho, Ni’Tasha Denson, Stephanie Gamino, David Sanchez, and Vincent Zamarripa – were honored for their excellence in academic achievement, despite overwhelming obstacles.
The honorees were extremely grateful for the support of Children’s Defense Fund – California. CDF-CA has worked closely with the students since their sophomore year in high school, providing private tutoring, one-on-one college counseling, ongoing mentoring, life skills development, SAT prep, and other needed skills at no cost.
“CDF-California is committed to making sure these students have the resources and support needed to not only graduate successfully from high school and college, but to become our next generation of youth advocates and community leaders,” said Executive Director Alex Johnson.
The momentous occasion was hosted by the Children’s Defense Fund President, Marian Wright Edelman, along with support from co-chairs, Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams, Jurnee Smollett-Bell & Josiah Bell, Carol & Frank Biondi, Ruth-Ann Huvane, Kevin Huvane, Katie Sharer & Mark Mullen, Liza & Conan O’Brien, and Reese Witherspoon & Jim Toth. Conan was also the night’s emcee.
Each honoree’s story was told through a special video presentation, directed by a prominent member of the entertainment community. Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds program serves to identify and reward remarkable high school students who have achieved excellence in their overall academic performance, community participation and personal goals. These impressive scholars have demonstrated the qualities necessary to become future leaders.