IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

High school senior headed to Harvard donates her $40K scholarship to others

Verda Tetteh wants the money to be given to a student attending community college, which her mother attended in her late 30s.
Get more newsLiveon

A high school senior headed to Harvard University has asked that a $40,000 scholarship she earned be given instead to a student attending community college.

Verda Tetteh, from Fitchburg High School in Massachusetts, knows how a community college can change someone's life, as her mother attended one at 39, according to NBC Boston.

Tetteh, who plans on majoring in chemistry and following a pre-med track at Harvard, turned down the $40,000 in scholarship money from her high school while accepting the school's general excellence award on June 4.

"I am so very grateful for this but I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most," she said in her speech. "And knowing my mom went to community college, and how much that was helpful, I would be so very grateful if administration ... would consider giving the general excellence scholarship to someone who's going to community college.

"It is such a great honor, but I also know that I am not the most in need of it," she added.

The prestigious scholarship is for $10,000 a year and renewable for four years, according to The Boston Globe.

Her mother sat in the audience as her fellow students gave her a standing ovation.

"I am in awe of her, so proud of her, and I think that that's something that's very difficult to do," Tetteh told NBC Boston about her mother's return to school later in life. "But she knew she wanted to improve her life and improve the lives of her children."

Tetteh, who moved from Ghana with her family when she was 8, plans on using other small scholarship money and financial aid to pay for Harvard. She wants to help give another student a leg up in life in their own college journey.

"Someone else needs it more than me, and there just was no excuse why I wouldn't give it up when that was the right thing to do," she told NBC Boston.