Harvard-bound senior student Verda Tetteh, from Massachusetts, knows how important a college scholarship can be.
After all, her mother had set a positive example by attending community college while working two jobs at the age of 39, according to NBC Boston.
Minutes after the teenager, who intends to major in chemistry and go pre-med, was awarded a $40,000 scholarship during a ceremony, she unexpectedly returned to the podium.
She turned down accepting the scholarship money from her high school for herself, and she made it clear that she wanted to give it to someone else deserving.
Her inspiration? Her immigrant mother.
“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 Boston Globe reports that the generous scholarship is for $10,000 a year and renewable for four years.
The crowd at the awards ceremony went wild.
The most impressed and proud audience member? Tetteh’s mother, who received a standing ovation.
Tetteh expressed her deep admiration for her mom during an interview with NBC Boston.
“I am in awe of her, so proud of her, and I think that that’s something that’s very difficult to do,” Tetteh said 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 to the US from Ghana with her family when she was 8, plans on using other small scholarship money and financial aid to pay for her Ivy League education.
She simply wants to help give another student a leg up in life in their own educational journey, and that’s beautiful.