17-year old Verda Tetteh, a college-bound student from Massachusetts, is set to attend Harvard University in the fall on a full-ride scholarship. However, she also won another $40,000 scholarship and has selflessly decided to give it away to another student who needs it more.
Verda, who was the class speaker during the 2021 graduation at Fitchburg High School in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, was applauded for her emotional speech that day.
She was one of the two students who was presented the General Excellence Awards with a scholarship worth $40,000 over 4 years. With her full scholarship to Harvard College where she plans to study chemistry, she could have used the additional financial aid for her other expenses.
However, in a surprising announcement, Verda earned a standing ovation when she graciously returned the scholarship.
“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. “I would be so very grateful if administration would consider giving the General Excellence scholarship to someone who is going to community college because I know it is such a great honor, but I also know I am not the most in need of it.”
Verda says that her mother, who earned her degree at a community college at the age of 47, inspired her to make the decision.
“It just was the thought that someone sitting here might have a struggle like my mom did when she was going to community college,” she told CBS News.
Her mother Rosemary said she is proud of her daughter’s decision.
“You don’t have to have the world to be able to give anything, you know, the little you have, just think about others around you and how you can help,” she said.