August 14, 2022
Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota 'Beat the Odds' scholarship recipients, in front, from left, Mela Nguyen, Shamaria Jordan and Hennessey Carlbom. In back, from left, Sebastien Lannelongue, Domenic Johnson and Christopher Oquist. (Contributed photo)
Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota ‘Beat the Odds’ scholarship recipients, in front, from left, Mela Nguyen, Shamaria Jordan and Hennessey Carlbom. In back, from left, Sebastien Lannelongue, Domenic Johnson and Christopher Oquist. (Contributed photo)

St. Paul, Minn. (April 4, 2016) — For more than 20 years, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota has recognized extraordinary young people who have overcome tremendous adversity in life to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership in their communities, and aspire to attend college by awarding them with a Beat the Odds scholarship.

This year, six of the most deserving Twin Cities-area high school students have been selected to receive a $5,000 scholarship. This year’s scholarship recipients are: Christopher Oquist, Roosevelt High School, Minneapolis; Domenic Johnson, North Community High School, Minneapolis; Hennessey Carlbom, Takoda Prep, Minneapolis; Sebastien Lannelongue, Southwest High School, Minneapolis; Shamaria Jordan, Edison High School, Minneapolis; and Mela Nguyen, Great River School, St. Paul (full biographies here).

CDF-MN will recognize the six students at its annual Beat the Odds awards celebration on Saturday, April 9 at McNamara Alumni Center in Minneapolis. The event reception begins at 5 p.m. with the program following at 7. The event will feature KARE 11 news reporter Jana Shortal as emcee, special guest Governor Mark Dayton, and Children’s Defense Fund founder and president Marian Wright Edelman as keynote speaker. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will present awards to the five Minneapolis honorees, and St. Paul City Council President Russ Stark and Fallon advertising agency co-founder, Fred Senn, will present the first annual Pat Fallon Memorial Scholarship to St. Paul honoree, Mela Nguyen. The Pat Fallon Memorial Scholarship will be awarded yearly to aBeat the Odds applicant interested in the arts and is named in honor of long-time Children’s Defense Fund board member and co-founder of Fallon Worldwide advertising agency, Pat Fallon, who passed away in November.

Tickets to the celebration will continue to be available at the door. Details here. Proceeds go to help support CDF-MN’s ongoing efforts to shape policies and change the odds for all children. The Beat the Odds awards event is an evening of fun and celebration that makes a difference in the lives of young people.

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

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