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Harvard-bound Ghanaian lady donates US$40,000 scholarship award

Verda Tetteh Harvard Student Verda Tetteh during her graduation

Sat, 12 Jun 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

A Ghanaian lady heading to the prestigious Harvard University in the United States is being celebrated for donating a financial scholarship that she won from High School to a community school.

Transiting from Fitchburg High School to the university, Verda Tetteh could have added US$40,000 to her financial aid packet for Harvard but instead she asked that the amount be given to a community school to disburse, winning her praise on the internet.

When Verda arrived at her June 4, 2021, graduation, she did not know that she had won the coveted General Excellence Award.

Viral Graduation Speech

She delivered a graduation speech centered on resilience at the beginning of the Massachusetts school's graduation ceremony, which has since been widely shared on social media.

"And I say resilient because if we are being honest with ourselves, some of us were born with the odds stacked against us that we may not make it to today," Tetteh said in her speech.

"And I say resilient because all of us, teachers, faculty, and students alike were given a great challenge when the pandemic hit. But we were and we are resilient, and we did it," she added.

Surprise scholarship announcement

At the end of her speech, the school's assistant principal disclosed that Tetteh was one of two winners of the $40,000 scholarship.

"I mean I applied for it a month ago but also a ton of other amazing students applied so I didn't know I was going to get it," a surprised Tetteh told USA TODAY news outlet.

After the principal celebrated qualities that she exhibited during her studies, Verda took an on-the-spot decision to give back to a community college that she said had helped her mother greatly.

"When I initially gave it away, I felt relieved actually. I was very happy God had given me the strength to do the right thing and reflecting back on that now, I still stand by my decision," Tetteh said.

"I don't think there's been a moment where I regretted my decision," she added.

She also spoke about positive feedback that she received from her proud headmaster and cheerleading mother.

"My principal actually you know, found me later that day and said, 'I'm so very proud of you and that was a very selfless move.' My mom said she cheered and gave me a standing ovation so I think it was very positive feedback and response from across the board," Tetteh said.

School agrees to reallocate scholarship

The school it turns out has agreed with the decision to reallocate the scholarship fund, disclosing that it will be spread across a four-year period.

Tetteh told USA TODAY after discussions with Principal Jeremy Roche, that it had been agreed that two graduating students who will be going to community college will be awarded $5,000 each over the period.

Verda's advice to incoming high school students: “You can make a change in every community, because you know that the world is always improving, so keep an eye open for what you can do and then be bold and be courageous, and work hard towards that change."

"She represented the class and the school amazingly well, and I would even dare say, her generation," Roche told the Washington Post.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com