Hopkins High School student Amarya Ward-West is the recipient of Minnesota's Beat the Odds scholarship. Sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, the scholarship is given out to five Minnesota high school students each year who have overcome tremendous adversity in life to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership in their communities, and aspire to attend college.
The summer before ninth-grade, Ward-West was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down. She was in a coma for three months, and when she came out of it, she needed to relearn how to do things that once seemed so simple. Four years later, she is a thriving Hopkins High School student who takes honors and Advanced Placement courses. Her GPA is 3.98. She has been accepted to the University of Minnesota, and will be the first member of her family to attend college.
"In a school of remarkable people, Amarya sets herself apart," said Hopkins High School Principal Doug Bullinger. "Given her story and her success, I don't think there is a more inspiring student in this school. I look forward to seeing the success she has after Hopkins."
Students are nominated for the Beat the Odds scholarship program by a teacher, counselor, or other adult. The criteria for earning the scholarship are based on the student's character, academic achievement, commitment to social justice issues/community, and the tremendous odds he/she beats every day.
As a Beat the Odds recipient, Ward-West will receive:
- A $5,000 Beat the Odds scholarship, allocated during college matriculation, and a laptop computer.
- Induction into the CDF family and invitation to join CDF's leadership development ladder.
- Professional, autobiographical videos of her story. These films may also be shared with the media, sponsors, supporters and the broader public, as well as posted on our website.
Watch a video documenting Ward-West’s story.