Alexis Bledel (in Phillip Lim), Reese Witherspoon (in Elie Saab), and Zoe Saldana (in Giambattista Valli) were amongst the celebrities on-hand at the Beverly Hills Hotel last night for a star-studded evening with the Children’s Defense Fund. The California chapter of the non-profit, which raises funds to “ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life,” hosted its 22nd Annual Awards Gala to honor five Los Angeles-area high school students who “beat the odds” by overcoming tremendous personal obstacles in order to achieve academic excellence. Each of the five students received a $10,000 college scholarship–plus other services like mentoring, internship placements, leadership, and job training–to reward their outstanding efforts. “It’s an incredibly uplifting event,” Witherspoon told InStyle.com on the red carpet. “These are kids who have, despite unbelievable conditions, overcome. They’re such an inspiration to me and everyone here this evening, that no matter what you face in your life, you can still accomplish your goals, chase your dreams, and dream big. Because you never know what’s going to happen!” Click through the gallery to see what other stars turned out for the inspiring event!