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Harvard-bound senior asks that her $40K scholarship go to community college students

“I am so very grateful ... but I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most,” said the Fitchburg High grad.


Fitchburg High School graduate Verda Tetteh will attend Harvard in the fall.

A high school senior headed to Harvard asked that her school give the $40,000 college scholarship it had awarded her to someone going to a community college instead.

At the graduation ceremony at Fitchburg High School on Friday, Verda Tetteh returned to the stage to ask that the school give its General Excellence Award scholarship to another student or students going to a community college.

“I am so very grateful for this, but I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most,” Tetteh said.

Her announcement was greeted by a standing ovation, The Boston Globe reported.

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Tetteh, who also delivered a speech at the graduation, said she was inspired by her Christian faith and the example of her mother, who earned a Bachelor’s degree from a community college as an adult. She also said she was moved by the words of the school’s assistant principal who spoke about being selfless at the graduation ceremony.

Tetteh immigrated from Ghana to the United States as a child, the newspaper reported. She said she felt confident that she would be able to pay for the cost of tuition through other scholarships from the high school and Harvard’s policy to cover 100% of demonstrated financial need for students. Fitchburg High School Principal Jeremy Roche will meet with the senior to discuss reallocating the award to another student or students.

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