Mass. teen turns down scholarship, suggests giving it other students in need

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FITCHBURG, Mass. (WPRI) — A Massachusetts teen shocked her fellow classmates and teachers at their high school graduation when she turned down a $40,000 scholarship, and the reason why is earning her a lot of praise.

When 17-year-old Verda Tetteh won Fitchburg High School’s coveted “general excellence” scholarship during graduation, she graciously accepted the money.

But then, the straight-A student returned to the podium minutes later to give it back.

“It is such a great honor, but I also know that I am not the most in need of it,” Tetteh said during graduation on Friday, earning her a standing ovation from her graduating class.

Tetteh is getting a full ride to Harvard. She could have used the high school scholarship for books and other expenses, but she suggested it would be better off in the hands of another student or students, for whom it might open a door to community college.

“I’m excited to see who it helps and how that changes their life, so I’m so happy God gave me the strength to do that,” Tetteh told CBS Boston.

As for who gets her scholarship, the details are still being worked out. Meanwhile, Tetteh is focused on tackling her pre-med regimen at Harvard this fall.

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