Charity, Events
Dec 7, 2012


The Children’s Defense Fund–California hosted their 22nd Annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The celebration honored five Los Angeles high school “stars” in recognition for their excellence in academic achievements, despite the overwhelming obstacles that stand in their way.The event was hosted by President Marian Writght Edelman and was attended by celebrity supports including Zoe Saldana, Reese Witherspoonm and Conan O’Brien.

The event featured a cocktail hour, formal dinner, and awards ceremony and was hosted by the Children’s Defense Fund President, Marian Wright Edelman. Supporters included co-chairs and Hollywood elite, Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams, Jurnee Smollett & Josiah Bell, Carol & Frank Biondi, Ruth-Ann Huvane & Kevin Huvane, Stacey & Charles King, Liza & Conan O’Brien, Reese Witherspoon & Jim Toth, and Laura & Casey Wasserman. Celebrity guests at the event included Melissa Beoist, Alexis Bledel, Miranda Cosgrove, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Greg Grunberg, Mary McCormack, Michelle Monaghan, Holland Roden, Zoe Saldana, Elisabeth Shue, Hannah Simone and Trey Thompkins, among others.

After opening remarks from actress Michelle Monaghan, Conan O’Brien presented Richard Kent of Belmont High School his award; Reese Witherspoon presented Yahydia Iñiguez of Helen Bernstein High School in Los Angeles her award; Elisabeth Shue presented Roneisha Pugh of St. Mary’s Academy in Inglewood award; and Zoe Saldana and Trey Thompkins presented fraternal twins Jade and Jalen Woods of Frederick K.C. Price III School in Los Angeles their awards respectively. Each of the students selected “beat the odds” in achieving success in academic performance and accomplishments, while overcoming the tremendous challenges and personal hardship present in their daily lives.

The honorees each received a $10,000 college scholarship and other services including mentoring, internship placements, leadership and job training, college counseling, SAT prep, a weeklong college tour provided by the Fulfillment Fund and general support from the Children’s Defense Fund–California.

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