The awardees of the St. Paul Friend of Youth scholarships are extraordinary. 
They have all pushed on to the greater achievements of their futures despite much adversity in their lives.

Often, these students are the first in their family to attend college or trade school after high school. Many are even the first to finish High School. These young adults have the perseverance to succeed, and fortunately, they are our future. 

Below are some of their comments:

"Being in the first generation to go to college, I have the great opportunities to live a life my parents could only dream of. Growing up in Laos, in a time of war and conflict, my parents never had the chances that I have now. And with the help of the Optimist Club, I can continue to reach toward my goals of attaining higher education"

"And on that night, for the first time, I realized that there were people out there who were willing to invest in my future, my potential, my intelligence, my abilities and encourage me to keep reaching for my dreams"

"Once again, thank you for giving me this award and for giving me this opportunity, and for giving me more than just a scholarship"

"It means that I can show my siblings and the people around me that even when the odds are against you, it's still possible"

"My college choices have been greatly affected by financial concerns, but because of your generosity, I am reconsidering my decisions. You have given me hope, and your support has made me even more ambitious to succeed."

"Thank you for giving the recipients a chance to express themselves, it really brought out true feelings"

"With this scholarship, I know that I can go on to college, succeed in everything I do, become someone and give back to my community"