On Wednesday, Lafayette attorney Glenn Armentor awarded four Lafayette-area high school students with his Pay It Forward Scholarship. That scholarship will pay for those students to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Armentor says it's his way to provide at-risk youths the same opportunity he was afforded when he was a student. Armentor grew up in poverty and frequently found himself in trouble with the law. Armentor says if it weren't for prominent members of the community who took interest in him when he was younger, he wouldn't be where he is today.

"They remind me of me so much," Armentor said. "I was there. Someone took the risk on me, and it made all the difference in the world. The opportunity to take a risk on these kids and watch them go to college, make a 4.0, become an engineer, and take care of other kids, there's nothing like it."

One of those students is the embodiment of the American Dream.

"The American Dream, I would say, is not having to worry every day about basic necessities, not having to look over your shoulder, and not wondering what's going to happen the next day," Izamary Lara said.

Lara is a recent graduate of Lafayette High School. She graduated with highest honors despite facing major adversity.

"I am a first generation (American) of an immigrant mom. In childhood, I dealt with single parenthood, domestic violence, (and) poverty."

Izamary's mother immigrated from Mexico to the United States 19 years ago. Her goal was to give her future children a chance to get a good education and to live a vibrant, successful life.

"I'm so happy, excited, and proud for her. I thank God for putting the correct people in my life for this help. It's not only for her dream, they helped me complete my dream."

Izamary's American dream will continue thanks to the Glenn Armentor Pay It Forward Scholarship.
In fact... she's already putting her dream into action.

"I'd hope to go to med school. I would like to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. Right now, I'm doing my EMT courses and my pharmacy tech courses to get a jump start in the health care field."

Izamary's mother also has another dream of her own... to see her other children succeed the way her oldest daughter has.

"Now, it's a motivation for my other children to see that they can do it, too. I don't have the words to say, 'Thank you.'"

Three other students received the Pay It Forward Scholarship this year. They are Sarah Mendoza and Adelina Duhon, both of Acadiana High School, and Corynn Gray, of the Thrive Academy in Baton Rouge. Each will receive $10,000 to cover the cost of her education.

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