As this Harvard-bound teen gives scholarship money away, Verda Tetteh is proving that altruism is still very much alive and well.


Tetteh, who immigrated to the U.S. with her family from Ghana, had no idea that after she finished her moving graduation day address on resilience that she would herself be selected to receive the school’s General Excellence Award in the sum of a $40,000 scholarship. 

“I mean I applied for it a month ago but also a ton of other amazing students applied so I didn’t know I was going to get it,” the Fitchburg High School student told USA Today in an interview.

Yet after listening to her principal speak to his graduating class about being “selfless” and “bold,” Tetteh made her own selfless and bold decision.

“I am so very grateful for this, but I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most,” Tetteh said. And just like that, she gave her scholarship away.

“When I initially gave it away, I felt relieved actually. I was very happy God had given me the strength to do the right thing and reflecting back on that now, I still stand by my decision,” she told USA Today. “I don’t think there’s been a moment where I regretted my decision.”

Tetteh knew how much community college had helped her mother obtain her degree at 47, so she asked if the scholarship money could go to a student who was going to community college.

The amazing young lady, met with her principal and they created a plan for the funds. The plan: The scholarship would be split into multiple gifts that will be awarded over the next four years. Starting this year, two students from the graduating class who would be awarded $5,000 each.

Upon hearing the news, everyone, Tetteh’s parents, the audience, and her principal were all, of course, extremely proud of her decision.

Tetteh’s principal, Jeremy Roche told The Washington Post that, “She represented the class and the school amazingly well, and I would even dare say, her generation.”

Tetteh has been awarded other scholarships and financial aid to fund her education. So, exactly how is she planning on spending her next four years? Well, she plans to study chemistry on the pre-med track at the prestigious Ivy League school.

Congratulations, Verda. You have truly made an impact already on the lives of many!

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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