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Ben Carson celebrates students' achievements in scholarship event

| Monday, April 18, 2016, 12:36 p.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony for named 2016 Carson Scholars at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016. 281 Pittsburgh area Carson Scholars were honored at the awards ceremony, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Carson Scholars Fund.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony for named 2016 Carson Scholars at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016. 281 Pittsburgh area Carson Scholars were honored at the awards ceremony, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Carson Scholars Fund.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Poonam Siteram, center left, 46, of Wilmington, Del., peeks out the door at Heinz Field as she watches her daughter Maya, 16, stand with Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy, along with other 2016 Carson Scholars during a group photo after the Carson Scholars Fund's 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Carson Scholar Maya Siteram, 16, of Wilmington, Del., stands with Dr. Ben Carson as her family takes a photo at Heinz Field after the Carson Scholars Fund's 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016. Over 7,300 scholarships have been awarded through the fund to students across the country.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
CAPA student and 2016 Carson Scholar Alyza Foster, 14, of Point Breeze, takes a selfie with Dr. Ben Carson after the Carson Scholars Fund's 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
The newest class of Carson Scholars are honored for their academic achievement and commitment to their community at the Carson Scholars Fund's 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy Carson, watch the 2016 Carson Scholars arrange themselves for a group photo after the Carson Scholars Fund's 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016. Over 7,300 scholarships have been awarded through the fund to students across the country.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony for named 2016 Carson Scholars at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016. 281 Pittsburgh area Carson Scholars were honored at the awards ceremony, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Carson Scholars Fund.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony for named 2016 Carson Scholars at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016. 281 Pittsburgh area Carson Scholars were honored at the awards ceremony, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Carson Scholars Fund.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Niah Wolfe, center, 18, of Jeannette, waits beside Morgan Boyd, front right, 15, of Swisshelm Park, as they wait to be announced at the 12th Annual Pittsburgh Awards Ceremony for named 2016 Carson Scholars at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Dr. Ben Carson stands for a portrait at Heinz Field on the North Shore on Sunday, April 17, 2016.

Dr. Ben Carson on Sunday lauded the achievements of nearly 300 students from Greater Pittsburgh during a scholarship reception at Heinz Field.

The former Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Carson Scholars Fund, which awards $1,000 scholarships to students in grades 4 to 12 who have demonstrated academic success and humanitarian qualities.

“Some of the early scholars now are professors, CEOs of companies or making their way on Broadway,” said the soft-spoken Carson, standing a few feet from students lining up for a procession inside the stadium's East Club Lounge. “It's very gratifying to see.”

The Maryland-based Carson Scholars Fund had $2.3 million in revenue and $4.4 million in net assets in 2014, Internal Revenue Service records show.

Since 1996, the fund has distributed more than 7,300 scholarships, as well as installed 138 reading rooms in low-income schools.

Of 281 Pittsburgh chapter scholars honored Sunday, 89 received the award for the first time and 192 renewed their Carson Scholar status. They're among 626 students named 2016 Carson Scholars nationwide.

Also during Sunday's ceremony, Carson Scholars Fund gave its Power of Excellence Award to Lauryn Williams, a four-time Olympian and three-time Olympic medalist and the fifth athlete ever to medal in both the winter and summer games. The sprint runner and bobsledder grew up in Beaver County and attended Rochester High School.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514 or nlindstrom@tribweb.com.

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