School is out for the summer, and students are free from thoughts of homework for three full months. Of course, at the end of those three months, some students will be more excited to return to school than others. Some will look forward to beginning junior high, some will anticipate life in high school, and some will begin their adult lives and venture off to college.
For those beginning their collegiate careers, the summer will be filled with preparations, from registering for general education classes to purchasing twin sheets for a dorm room bed, and these preparations, along with actually attending college, all require a significant financial investment for students and their families. For the most bright and talented students, merit-based scholarships are made available to assist with the cost of college, and for those truly outstanding students, the sky is the limit. The four scholarship recipients of the 2011 Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Beat the Odds awards definitely reside in the “outstanding” category.
Founded in 1990, the CDF Beat the Odds program identifies and rewards young people who have experienced significant hardship in their lives, supporting and training them to become future leaders. Recipients of the program’s incredible scholarships have overcome tremendous adversity, demonstrated academic excellence, and given back to their communities. These recipients are honored at the annual CDF Beat the Odds Celebration held in March during a dinner and ceremony attended by students, families, philanthropists, and a general “Who’s Who” of Minneapolis. In addition to ticket sales for the evening, money is raised through silent auction, live auction, and raffle events that run throughout the night. For the first time ever, the 2011 fundraiser, held at the The Depot in downtown Minneapolis, brought in more than $200,000.
CDF credits their sponsors for making this possible, through both monetary and in-kind contributions. Lead monetary sponsors include Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi, L.L.P.; UCare; and Thomson Reuters. Fallon, who works with CDF throughout the year, is a major in-kind sponsor, producing the entire award ceremony and highlight videos. Among many generous others, Minnesota Monthly provides media sponsorship for the Beat the Odds Celebration.
But back to the true reason for the celebration: The amazing student honorees. This year’s four scholarship recipients hail from all around the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and will be taking their talents near and far for their college careers and beyond. Amira Gill, a recent graduate of Central High School in St. Paul, has chosen to attend the all-female undergraduate St. Catherine University with campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Abdirahman Hassan and Sasha Schanz, both graduates of Como Park Senior High School in northern St. Paul, will keep their talents in-state for the time being and attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Minnesota State University Moorhead, respectively. Finally, Alexander Glaze of Southwest High School in Minneapolis will head west to attend Stanford University in northern California.
Fallon congratulates these students and wishes them the best in all their future endeavors. Wherever their paths may take them, one thing is certain for these talented protégés: The sky is the limit.
- Charisse Winter