Graduation ceremony inspires Harvard-bound student to give her surprise $40k scholarship away


High school senior Varda Teteh may have added an astonishing $40,000 scholarship to her collection of scholarships and financial aid to pay for her Harvard education from Fitchburg High School. But instead, he asked the school to give the scholarship money to someone who needed it more.

Teteh, who immigrated to the US from Ghana with her family, delivered powerful address On resilience at the start of the Massachusetts school’s June 4 graduation ceremony. When she spoke, she did not yet know that she had been selected as one of two students who would be awarded the school’s General Excellence Award.

Tateh said in his speech, “And I say resilient because if we’re being honest with ourselves, some of us were born with the odds stacked against us that we just couldn’t make it up to today.” “And I say resilient because all of us, teachers, teachers and students alike, were given a great challenge when the pandemic hit. But we were and we are resilient, and we did it.”

After taking his seat, the school’s assistant principal announced the two winners of the $40,000 scholarship – and Teteh was one of them. It was a blow to him.

Varda Teteh on his graduation.

“I mean I applied for it a month ago, but so many other amazing students applied too, so I didn’t know I was going to get it,” Teteh told USA Today.

After receiving the award, he overheard the assistant principal being “selfless” and “courageous”. That’s when he decided.

“I’m so grateful for that, but I also know that I’m not the one who needs it the most,” Teteh said. She was awarded other scholarships and financial aid which she plans to use for her education.

She knew that community college had helped her mother a lot, and she knew how much that money would spend for her education there. So she said at the ceremony that she wanted the administration to consider giving a scholarship to a community college student.

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Teteh said, “When I initially gave it up, I was really relieved. I was so happy that God gave me the strength to do the right thing and now considering that, I still stand by my decision.” ” “I don’t think there has been a moment when I have regretted my decision.”

Teteh said that his parents, like him, didn’t know he was getting a scholarship until his graduation was announced, so it was a very spontaneous decision.

“My principal actually, you know, met me later that day and said, ‘I’m so proud of you and it was a very selfless move.’ My mom said she cheered and gave me a standing ovation, so I think it was a lot of positive feedback and feedback from across the board,” Teteh said.

Tateh told Granthshala that she met with Principal Jeremy Roche to discuss how the scholarship would be reallocated. Scheme: One scholarship will be divided into several which will be awarded over the next four years. Starting this year, two graduating students who go to community college will be awarded $5,000 each.

She encouraged incoming high school students to keep their eyes open in their community.

Teteh said, “You can make a difference in every community, because you know that the world is always improving, so keep an eye on what you can do and then be brave and courageous and work hard for that change.” Work hard.”

“She represented the class and the school wonderfully, and I could even dare say her generation,” Roche said. Washington Post.

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