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Brexit may have begun but it is not over, indeed it may never be finished.

Harvard-bound teen asks for $40,000 scholarship to go to community college student instead

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Verda Tetteh, a high school senior who is majoring in chemistry and following a pre-med track at Harvard University, asked that a $40,000 scholarship she earned instead be awarded to a student attending community college. The scholarship breaks down to $10,000 per year, as reported by The Boston Globe. Tetteh, who according to her stepfather has continued working part-time in a grocery store amid the pandemic in addition to her studies, asked Fitchburg High School, a public school in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, to reallocate her scholarship funds as she accepted an award from the school on June 4.

What inspired this incredible generosity? In her graduation speech before more than 200 of her peers, Tetteh, who moved from Ghana with her family at the age of eight, referenced her mother, who she says went to community college at the age of 39 and earned her degree at 47. "I am so very grateful for this but I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most," Tetteh stated. "And knowing my mom went to community college, and how much that was helpful, I would be so very grateful if the administration would consider giving the General Excellence award to someone who's going to community college.”

“To every immigrant child, you can make it,” the seventeen-year-old said in her graduation speech. Tetteh discussed the reality that “some of us were born with the odds stacked against us,” and used her speech time to talk about resilience. Later, after she was announced as the winner of the General Excellence award, Tetteh took to the stage again and asked the administration to reallocate it to a student in more need. As reported by The Washington Post, Tetteh’s request was entirely unscripted.

Tetteh’s mother, Rosemary Annan, was present in the audience during her daughter’s speech. “I'm not sad about it that someone's going to get some good help,” Annan told CNN in an interview. “If I had gotten that help, I would have been thrilled."

According to local outlet CBS Boston, students gave Tetteh a standing ovation. Fitchburg High School Principal Jeremy Roche will work with Tetteh on how to redistribute the scholarship money. In reference to Tetteh’s decision, Roche said, “What she did, it represents the best of humanity, in a sense.”

"Someone else needs it more than me, and there’s just was no excuse why I wouldn't give it up when that was the right thing to do," Tetteh explained about her decision, sharing that she received financial aid and several smaller scholarships to attend Harvard in the fall. She could have used the scholarship funds toward her expenses, as reported by CBS News, but still decided to give it to those in more need.

“It just was the thought that someone sitting here might have a struggle like my mom did when she was going to community college," Tetteh told the outlet. If most adults only had a sliver of Tetteh’s generosity, empathy, and bravery, the world might be a much different—and better—place.

You can check out a short interview with Tetteh and her family below.

YouTube Video
 
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