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ST. LOUIS – A Columbia, Mo. man, who spent 10 years in prison before his conviction was overturned, is using his story to inspire children of jailed parents.

Ryan Ferguson, 29, served as the keynote speaker at the Ava's Grace Scholarship Awards Saturday afternoon. His story made national headlines when he was set free in November 2013 after his murder conviction was overturned.

Ferguson's one message to students? Never give up.

LINK: Timeline of Ryan Ferguson's case

"They've learned, earlier than I did that you don't have to be a victim of your circumstances. You can make the best out of whatever is given you," Ferguson said.

Four high school seniors will receive scholarships from Ava's Grace.

Altogether, the Saint Louis-based non-profit has awarded more than $64,000 to students from around Missouri.

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