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Last updated: 2009
Courage, resilience and tenacity define the extraordinary character of Maria Burgos. Rising from years of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of impoverished and negligent parents and forced into the foster care system, Maria continued to work at overcoming the scars created by the tribulations experienced in her younger years. Her life had been punctuated with court interventions, unwanted trips to Mexico, and a variety of inadequate and unhealthy home environments. The emotional and physical effects over time had created a despondent young Maria, unable to find her own voice or strength and falling into a self-destructive pattern of helplessness.
Through all of the challenges in her home life, school served as Maria’s only constant beacon of hope. To her credit, she never lost sight of the value of education and hard work. Although she has attended four high schools to date, Maria maintains a 3.5 grade point average. She is captain of the varsity cross country team, a member of her school’s nationally ranked drill team, a three-time Los Angeles Marathon runner, and a dedicated participant in community service. Her life experiences have fueled a personal desire to help other youths like her who are going through rough times. Maria’s respect for learning and love of life are lessons in what is good and attainable. She deserves the opportunity to continue to grow into the positive human being that she desires to become. We recognize and reward Maria Burgos for her fortitude, perseverance, and self-motivation and honor her as a 2009 Los Angeles Beat the Odds award recipient.
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