The Children's Defense Fund-California hosted its 24th Annual Beat the Odds Awards on Thursday, honoring Chase Moore, Elizabeth Lopez, Sequoia Canada, Timothy Walker, and Zachary Byrge – five incredible Los Angeles area high school students who “beat the odds.”

Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman and Hollywood’s supporters celebrated these high school “stars” for overcoming tremendous personal obstacles in order to achieve academic excellence.

Attendees included Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams, Carol & Frank Biondi, Laphonza Butler, Ruth-Ann Huvane, Kevin Huvane, Katie Sharer & Mark Mullen, and Liza & Conan O'Brien, as well as John Boyega, Jordana Brewster, Matt Barnes, Greg Grunberg, Tim Guinee, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Aja Naomi King, Mary McCormack, Kelly McCreary, Chris Messina, Kevin Nealon, Ahna O’Reilly, Kimberly Williams Paisley, Brad Paisley, Elisabeth Shue, and Darby Stanchfield.

Each student honoree received a $10,000 college scholarship and support services including: private tutoring, one-on-one college counseling, ongoing mentoring, internship placements, life skills development, SAT prep, and week-long college tours at no cost.

Since its inception in 1990, the Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds program has identified and rewarded remarkable high school students who have overcome tremendous obstacles, surpassed their full potential in overall academic excellence, and given back to their community. These impressive scholars have clearly demonstrated the qualities necessary to become future leaders.

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