Beat the Odds® Scholarship Program

The Beat the Odds® scholarship program honors outstanding high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity in life to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership and service, and aspire to attend college. Each year, through a competitive review process, Children's Defense Fund–Texas selects five of the most deserving Houston-area high school seniors for a Beat the Odds scholarship to be put toward college expenses. This year's recipients will each receive $5,000 plus an assortment of additional gifts, including ongoing mentorship and leadership training with CDF.

CDF-TX's annual Beat the Odds celebration recognizes the scholarship recipients and helps raise awareness about the significant challenges facing Texas' children and the need for continued investment and advocacy. The individual experiences and stories of the young people honored at the event inform CDF-TX's ongoing efforts to shape policy and change the odds for all children.

Since 1999, CDF-TX has awarded more than 130 scholarships to outstanding youth from southeast and north Texas. The celebration raises needed funding to sustain the organization's Leave No Child Behind® mission.

Please show your support for these high school students by giving as generously as you can.

Apply Online

The 2017 Children's Defense Fund-Texas Beat the Odds® Scholarship Application
Submission Deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 16, 2016

Apply Online Now

If you have questions about your application, please contact texasbto@childrensdefense.org.

Eligibility

For consideration in the CDF-Texas Beat the Odds scholarship, an applicant must:

  • Be a current high school senior in a Houston area (also includes: Dayton/Liberty county) public, charter, or alternative school;
  • Have overcome significant adversity such as, but not limited to, poverty, disability, homelessness or abuse;
  • Demonstrate participation in school activities, community organizations, employment, and/or service leadership;
  • Have a current G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher;
  • Graduate by July 2017; and
  • Plan to attend college, university, or vocational school post graduation.

Beat the Odds scholarship applications are reviewed by CDF-Texas staff and a selection committee that reflects the professional and ethnic diversity of our community. We consider each applicant holistically and within the context of their academic achievement, personal circumstances, available support network, and commitment to service.

Publicity

Winners will be interviewed and videotaped subjects of mini-documentaries to raise awareness about the challenges young people face. These mini-documentaries will be aired at the Beat the Odds Awards Luncheon in the Spring and posted online as part of CDF's YouTube library. Applicants must feel comfortable with sharing their stories publicly. 

Selection

Applicants for the Beat the Odds scholarship will be evaluated based upon:

  • An application form, which should tell the applicant's story, and include sufficient details to describe significant hardships/challenges faced, volunteer and service leadership experiences, and academics
  • An educator recommendation from a teacher who knows the applicant well
  • A community member recommendation from a mentor, employer, or counselor who knows the applicant well
  • A high school transcript

Notifications will be made January - March. Recipients will be honored at the spring CDF-Texas Beat the Odds Awards Luncheon. 

Questions: Please email texasbto@childrensdefense.org.

Meet Our Past Honorees
       
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Drew Bernard Christine Egu Taylor Garrett Bontu Workineh
2016 2016 2016 2016
       
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Mikenzie Yates Alisa Hamilton Dayana Sosa Laurie Nowlin
2016 2015 2015 2015
       
Nelly Mendoza Ruth Rodriguez Kyle Dacdac Michelle Deveau
2015 2015 2014 2014
       
Elizabeth Donaciano Tiara Flowers Keith Klimitchek Ernesto Chun
2014 2014 2014 2013
       
Anna Dang Jamesia Fransaw Kaylee Lewis Kehinde Shittu
2013 2013 2013 2013
       
Samantha Beasley Keyaira Block Kasey Lewis Marcus Livingston, Jr.
2012 Houston 2012 Houston 2012 Houston 2012 Houston
       
Brittany Metzler Vanessa Alanis Janeli Hernandez Alvarado Tej Dahal
2012 Houston 2012 Dallas 2012 Dallas 2012 Dallas
       
Laura Morales Rafif Muhsin Katrina Taylor Marshall Schoen
2012 Dallas 2012 Dallas 2011 Houston 2011 Houston
       
Luis Gonzalez Nernwon Kargou Avery Gibson Julan Basnet
2011 Houston 2011 Houston 2011 Houston 2011 Dallas
       
Alexandre Pendergrass Ja'Mesha Morgan Kathleen Voirin Alexandria Emerson
2011 Dallas 2011 Dallas 2011 Dallas 2011 Dallas
       
Damber Khadka Priscilla Holmes Antonio De Jesus Palacios Aisha Fahradova
2011 Dallas 2011 Dallas 2010 Houston 2010 Houston
       
Shamso Hussein Kateri Perez Patricia Zamora Kaileah Seedorf
2010 Houston 2010 Houston 2010 Houston 2010 Houston
       
Prentice Richmond Jasmine Gibson Julie Negussie Randa Alraimi
2010 Dallas 2010 Dallas 2010 Dallas 2009
       
Cinthia Cortez Paul Ellis Yahir Rodriguez Rudy Torres
2009 2009 2009 2009
       
Feefelobari Yorka Susan Castillo Brandon Gassaway Fatma Kassim
2009 2008 2008 2008
       
Petra Villegas Sheehan Whelan Kaley Jagnanan Alena Frances
2008 2008 2008 2008
       
Anosha Azeemi Fanny Briceño Cortney Gee Ngan Ho
2007 2007 2007 2007
       
Zach Menk Christina Brugger Chelscie Irby James Onyirimba
2007 2006 2006 2006
       
Clemente Zamarripa Cinthya Peña Jesus Acosta Melissa Allen
2006 2006 2005 2005
       
 
Ashley Leath Gabriela Peña Irencarr Young  
2005 2005 2005  
       
Tamara Hall Crystal Johnson Juan Montelongo Roberto Niño
2003 2003 2003 2003
       
Kristin Ringo Candace Fitzgerald Fabiola Gonzalez Gregory Roberts
2003 2002 2002 2002
       
Maria Xiquin Itang Hope Young Vu Hung Dang Sonia Fuentes
2002 2002 2001 2001
       
Heather Griffin Maria Montelongo Alfonso Morales, Jr. Christopher Brock
2001 2001 2001 2000
       
Jose Moises Cedillos Gina Marie DeLeon Tiffany Garrett Damion Leonard
2000 2000 2000 2000
       
April Stevens Courtney Wyly Alberto Garcia Shantera Rayford
1999 1999 1999 1999
       
Katriska Evurunobi      
1999      
Beat the Odds® Awards Luncheon

Save the date!

18th Annual Beat the Odds® Awards Luncheon
Thursday, May 18, 2017
11:30 p.m. - Reception
12:00 p.m. - Lunch and Program

Discovery Ballroom
Royal Sonesta Hotel
2222 West Loop South
Houston, TX 77027

Contact

For more information about CDF-Texas's Beat the Odds® program please contact:

 
 
Cecilia Joseph Anat Kelman Shaw
Director of Operations Director of Communications