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Verda Tetteh, a high school senior who is majoring in chemistry and following a pre-med track at Harvard University, asked that a $40,000 scholarship she earned instead be awarded to a student attending community college. The scholarship breaks down to $10,000 per year, as reported by The Boston Globe.

Tetteh, who according to her stepfather has continued working part-time in a grocery store amid the pandemic in addition to her studies, asked Fitchburg High School, a public school in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, to reallocate her scholarship funds as she accepted an award from the school on June 4. 

What inspired this incredible generosity? In her graduation speech before more than 200 of her peers, Tetteh, who moved from Ghana with her family at the age of eight, referenced her mother, who she says went to community college at the age of 39 and earned her degree at 47. "I am so very grateful for this but I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most," Tetteh stated. "And knowing my mom went to community college, and how much that was helpful, I would be so very grateful if the administration would consider giving the General Excellence award to someone who's going to community college.”

“To every immigrant child, you can make it,” the seventeen-year-old said in her graduation speech. Tetteh discussed the reality that “some of us were born with the odds stacked against us,” and used her speech time to talk about resilience. Later, after she was announced as the winner of the General Excellence award, Tetteh took to the stage again and asked the administration to reallocate it to a student in more need. As reported by The Washington Post, Tetteh’s request was entirely unscripted. 

Tetteh’s mother, Rosemary Annan, was present in the audience during her daughter’s speech. “I'm not sad about it that someone's going to get some good help,” Annan told CNN in an interview. “If I had gotten that help, I would have been thrilled."

According to local outlet CBS Boston, students gave Tetteh a standing ovation. Fitchburg High School Principal Jeremy Roche will work with Tetteh on how to redistribute the scholarship money. In reference to Tetteh’s decision, Roche said, “What she did, it represents the best of humanity, in a sense.” 

"Someone else needs it more than me, and there’s just was no excuse why I wouldn't give it up when that was the right thing to do," Tetteh explained about her decision, sharing that she received financial aid and several smaller scholarships to attend Harvard in the fall. She could have used the scholarship funds toward her expenses, as reported by CBS News, but still decided to give it to those in more need.

“It just was the thought that someone sitting here might have a struggle like my mom did when she was going to community college," Tetteh told the outlet. If most adults only had a sliver of Tetteh’s generosity, empathy, and bravery, the world might be a much different—and better—place. 

You can check out a short interview with Tetteh and her family below.

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Fathers Day special: 10 best college basketball players to play for their dads

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Nov 20, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Cornell Big Red forward Jimmy Boeheim (3) and Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim and Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim (35) pose for a photo following the game at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking the 10 best college basketball players that played for their dads in college. Which son had the best career playing for pops?

What’s tougher? Playing for your dad or coaching your kid?  I never played for my dad but I have coached my kids. My daughter will tell you that she was an all-star catcher in spite of and not because of her youth coach. I knew it was time for her to play for someone else when at the first Juniors practice at the age of 13, she pointed at me and said “you know I’m not going to listen to you, right?” God bless the coaches on this list.

College basketball has a long history of players being coached by their fathers. This season is no different. One of 2021’s top five recruits, Patrick Baldwin Jr, chose to play at UW-Milwaukee and play for his father over Duke. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim will not only coach son Buddy, but oldest son Jimmy who transferred from Cornell.

While some think the coach’s kid gets special treatment, many will tell you that the coach is much harder on his kid than the other players to be sure not to show favoritism. I think Patrick Knight would tell you that he was in the second category while playing for dad, Bobby at Indiana. It might be tougher on the coach at home. Boeheim has said that it’s not an issue yelling at Buddy until he gets home and has to face Buddy’s mom, Juli.

Division I basketball is certainly not Little League. I don’t think any coach gives one of his valuable 13 scholarships to anyone that he doesn’t think can contribute, blood relative or not. It must be so very special for both father and son and in honor of Father’s Day, let’s celebrate the top 10 college basketball players to play for their dad.

Next: 10. Buddy & Jim Boeheim/Syracuse

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