Former Homeless Teen Called Harvard by Bullies Wins Full Ride to Ivy League School

Harriet Sinclair

A formerly homeless teenager who bullies nicknamed Harvard for reading so much has earned a scholarship to the prestigious Ivy League school.

Richard Jenkins, from Philadelphia, got a full-ride scholarship to Harvard after seeing an advertisement from the university that said it would cover tuition fees for students whose household income is less than $65,000 a year.

Jenkins told the Associated Press he found out the good news while on a trip with his classmates from Girard College, a boarding school in Philadelphia.

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He had previously tried to hide the fact that he spent some of his sixth grade staying in a homeless shelter, but said he had been inspired to study by the situation.

“Around sixth grade, I was homeless and living in a shelter in Germantown [Pennsylvania] called the Wayne House, actually. Basically, I got tired of being poor, tired of feeling like I had to hide that,” he told Fox 29. “I really shouldn't have had to feel ashamed that I'm in this living condition and that kind of woke me up: Yeah, this needs to change."

“I was so embarrassed to say I lived in a shelter,” NBC Philadelphia reported him saying. “But that’s when I realized I’ve got to buckle in because I can’t have my potential kids going through what I’m going through now.”

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But studying hard didn’t always mean Jenkins had things easy. The teen revealed his studious nature saw him get teased by bullies.

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Buildings in Harvard Yard are reflected in frozen puddle at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 20. A formerly homeless teenager who bullies nicknamed Harvard for reading so much has earned a scholarship to the prestigious Ivy League school. Reuters

“I was always the one quick to answer, and other people didn't like that, so I got picked on a lot. I actually used to get called Harvard when I was younger, which is funny now,” he said.

The teenager is set to join the prestigious university next fall, his offer of a full-ride proof his hard work paid off.

This article was first written by Newsweek

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