Below are brief profiles of past Loudoun "Beat the
Odds" award winners. While this information gives you
snapshots of their challenges, it is far from their full stories.
We hope that this will help you appreciate the drive and
determination of these amazing young people. Please
note that we limit some of the information about them so as to
protect their privacy.
If you would like to make a donation to this worthy organization and cause, please click on the "Donations" link to submit your donation.
The 2014 Beat the Odds award recipient suffered sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of her biological father as a young girl. At age 12, she courageously came forward and testified in court against her father. However, the scars remained, and she struggled with depression, an eating disorder and family financial difficulties throughout her teen years. She refused to be a victim, however, and through determination and the support of loved ones she rebuilt her self-confidence and excelled both in school and in the community. Kayla's BTO scholarship will help her embark into the nursing program at George Mason University.
This 2013 Beat the Odds award recipient suffered years of sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of a trusted family members. Leanna persisted through severe poverty and a highly dysfunctional family environment. She worked throughout high school as a baby-sitter, dog walker, Spanish tutor, Math tutor and a cashier at a local store – all to help her family pay the bills. Leanna was one of four award recipients in 2013, and is using her Loudoun ‘Beat the Odds’ scholarship to help her attend Penn State University in the fall of 2013..
The 2012 Loudoun Beat the Odds award recipient has
persevered through significant family upheaval and
years of physical and sexual abuse. Through the
support of a friend, she was finally able to come
forward to authorities and she and her younger
sisters were removed from their abusive home
environment and were placed into foster care. She
is now with a stable and loving family and has
excelled in school as well as being a role model to
her siblings. She is the first in her family to
graduate from high school and the first to attend
college. One of four award recipients in 2012,
Keylah will be attending Marymount University and
plans to pursue a degree in nursing.
The 2011 Loudoun Beat the Odds award recipient faced
severe poverty issues during her childhood.
Shelly's parents moved out of state in order to find
employment, and Shelly and her sisters had to fend
for themselves in Loudoun. Shelly and her younger
sister moved multiple times, four times during her
junior year of high school alone, often residing
with friends. Through all this she was a high
achieving student with strong academics and a
wonderful sense of humility. One of six award
recipients in 2011, Shelly is currently a student at
the University of Virginia.
The 2010 Loudoun Beat the Odds award recipient
suffered a sudden stroke as a sophomore in high
school, leaving her partially paralyzed on her right
side. Brenda had to relearn how to read, write,
walk and speak. After having to repeat her
sophomore year, Brenda fought back against her
challenges and in June 2010 became the first member
of her family to ever graduate from high school and
the first to attend college. One of 5 award
recipients in 2010, Brenda used her Beat the Odds
scholarship to assist her in attending George Mason
The 2009 Loudoun Beat the Odds award recipient
didn’t attend her first year of formal schooling
until the 5th
grade – before that she had only read books on her
own. Jessica struggled through a very difficult
upbringing, and after coming forward to authorities
as a teen about the many terrible events of her
childhood, Jessica was placed into foster care.
Despite the adversity in her life, Jessica
prevailed, thriving in a school setting and
graduating as valedictorian of her high school class
at Loudoun Valley. One of 5 award recipients in
2009, Jessica is used her Beat the Odds
scholarship to assist her with her studies at The
College of William & Mary, where she received her Bachelor's Degree in May 2013.
The 2008 Loudoun Beat the Odds award recipient was
the oldest of 4 children with an absentee father.
Facing significant poverty for most of his youth,
Victor moved more than 30 times since his birth –
shelters, trailers, friend’s homes, churches. The
tough times helped make him a leader among his peers
in school and on the football field. One of 5 award
recipients in 2008, Victor’s Beat the Odds
scholarship helped him bridge the financial gap he
faced so that he could attend Bridgewater College.
Victor graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in May
The 2007 Loudoun Beat the Odds award recipient spent
her high school years as the primary caretaker of
her mother who was battling Multiple Sclerosis (MS),
working a part-time job, and caring for her 9 year
old cousin who lived with them. One of 5 award
recipients in 2006, Aleyna moved her mother and
cousin after graduation to a new home in North
Carolina so she could begin her freshman year at UNC
Greensboro and still care for them. She was soon
thereafter profiled in a Washington Post article
about her struggles to care for her mother and still
be a “regular” college student. Aleyna graduated
from UNC Greensboro in December 2011.
The 2006 Loudoun Beat the Odds award recipient spent
several years in the foster care system after being
removed from an abusive home. While in Foster Care
she was profiled by NBC News 4 as a “Wednesday’s
Child,” a weekly profile of children in the foster
care system who are in need of an adoptive family.
Sharmila and her siblings were eventually adopted.
She overcame many of her early life obstacles and
established for herself the goal of becoming a
social worker. One of 3 award recipients in 2006,
Sharmila used her Beat the Odds scholarship to start
her studies at Radford University, and then later
transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University.
She graduated from VCU in 2010 with a degree in
Social Work and then went on to obtain her Masters Degree at Columbia University in
New York City in 2012.
The very first Loudoun Beat the Odds award recipient
(2005) moved to Loudoun during high school after
being removed from her home due to an abusive
father. She demonstrated fortitude in battling
juvenile arthritis and at times having to take 22
pills a day. Yet she pushed herself academically
and was able to graduate from high school a year
early. Megan used her Beat the Odds scholarship to
close the funding gap for her enrollment into
Hampton University. She later transferred to Old
Dominion as a Chemistry major. During that time, in
addition to being a student, she became a successful
and well known On-Air radio personality in the
Norfolk area known as “DJ B*Ryte”. She received her
Bachelor’s Degree in Summer 2012.