Five recipients were revealed at today’s press conference and award ceremony for the "$10,000 Pay It Forward Scholarship.”
A selection committee made up of Acadiana community members chose the high school seniors who include: Nathan Guidry of Crowley High School, Morgan Bergeron of Erath High School, Darryl Thibodeaux of Northside High School, Calvin Griffin of Ovey Comeaux High School and Russell Williams of Opelousas High School.
Each of these students has experienced terrible obstacles many adults have never or will never face, such as homelessness, hunger, and abandonment all while maintaining 3.4-4.0 GPAs.
The press conference honoring this year’s recipients of the Pay It Forward Scholarship was held on Tuesday, April 7th at 10:00 am at Good Hope Hall located at 300 Stewart St., Lafayette La.
At the press conference, scholarship benefactor and Lafayette personal injury attorney Glenn Armentor said, "Truly, at-risk students face so many barriers and adverse circumstances in their lives that those who do well quickly come to understand exactly what they need to do to change the world in favorable ways. They are the real opportunity that the rest of us seek to a better world. I am grateful that the Pay It Forward program can once again touch lives and help nurture leadership potential not only in Acadiana but across Louisiana and ultimately, across America."
He spoke of the scholarship’s lasting implications saying, "My wife, Dana, and I know that the economic impact is big, but a deeper impact is also being made. Our winning applicants become part of a special, supportive fold; We check up on them regularly, we seek to nurture them and we have begun to create a network of individuals who can mentor one another, and others, as they then become responsible for Paying It Forward. Truly, these are the young people who will ultimately do the most to change the world.”
Each student was also honored with a certificate at the event. Crowley-native, Nathan Guidry said he was "so ready to be a Ragin’ Cajun,” and that, "before hearing about this scholarship program, college was more of dream than a reality, so it’s still a little hard to believe I’ll be enrolled in university next semester.”
As proud as Armentor has been of the program he recognized a flaw. "While it’s always rewarding to help lift a deserving young person up and get them on a path toward a better, brighter future, it’s also difficult to turn others away. There are so many young people in our community who resist the temptation to turn to drugs, crime and the so-called ‘easy way.’ They continue to work hard, study hard and believe one day they’ll be rewarded for their efforts. For that reason, I decided to expand the program this year and honor five terrific young people.”
In recognizing these outstanding young people with $10,000 Pay-it-Forward Scholarships, Armentor remains committed to expanding the program throughout the Acadiana community and the state, "Through my position as President of the Louisiana Association for Justice I intend to bring this program to other Louisiana attorneys and firms. As practitioners of law, criminal or civil, we have a ringside seat to what can happen when at-risk youth are ignored or neglected. They become the kind of adults we see sitting in the courtrooms and eventually behind bars.”
About the Pay It Forward Scholarship
Since its inception and first recipient in 2010, the program has awarded more than $225,000, providing tuition for students attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, South Louisiana Community College and Louisiana State University Law School. Additionally, when possible, scholarship winners may be offered a runner position at the Glenn Armentor Law Corporation for a steady and flexible job during the time in school.
The $10,000 Pay-It-Forward Scholarship of Excellence is given annually to at-risk young men or women who display the spirit, work ethic and character that is deserving of a chance for a better future as well as needy adults facing exceptional hardship. The scholarships are awarded by an independent panel of community leaders based on a combination of attributes including: student performance, drive, ability, need and desire to seek a college degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
As a boy Glenn Armentor could easily have served as a poster-child for at-risk kids in Acadiana. Subpar efforts in primary school, run-ins with the law, a quick temper and being raised in abject poverty all contributed to putting him on an a path of self destruction. Luckily for Armentor, a handful of individuals stepped in and righted the young man’s moral and ethical ship, before it was too late. With a newfound spark of optimism, he worked offshore to put himself through law school and eventually opened his own firm. Today he’s annually recognized as The Best Lawyer in Acadian, (by public vote through the Times of Acadiana), has been President of the Louisiana Association for Justice, has a thriving law practice and has helped protect the rights of thousands who’ve encountered misfortune.
Through it all, he never forgot those early years and the strangers who stepped in to help change his life. In 2010, he decided to pay them back or rather, forward, by creating the Glenn Armentor ‘Pay-It-Forward’ $10,000 Scholarship Program.
For each of the past five years, worthy students have been chosen as recipients by a committee of University of Louisiana at Lafayette faculty and staff as well as distinguished community members. The committee’s criterion is stated as: one who meets the criteria of financial or personal hardships, while having the academic ability to achieve a 4.0 grade point average in college.
Educators throughout Louisiana are urged to submit the names of high school students that meet the basic requirements of the program for future awards.
For more information contact: The Scholarship Department at The Glenn Armentor Law Corporation at 337.233.1471, Scholarship@GlennArmentor.com, or visit www.GlennArmentor.com/Pay-It-Forward-Scholarship.