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A teen who spent most of his childhood living in homeless shelters will be on his way to Harvard University this fall. Richard Jenkins, 18, received a full-ride scholarship to the Ivy League institution, CNBC reported.

Growing up Jenkins—who is a Philadelphia native—and his family hit hard times financially, the news outlet writes. They lost their home due to foreclosure and ended up being homeless for years. Aside from dealing with the perils of poverty, he battled with a medical condition that put him in and out of the hospital. Despite the circumstances Jenkins dedicated himself to his education, knowing that excelling academically would be a key part of changing the trajectory of him and his family’s future.

While in middle school, he got involved with a program called Mighty Writers which helped him get accepted into Girard College; a prestigious boarding school created for students who come from single-parent homes and have faced financial burdens. While at the Philadelphia-based school, Jenkins was a straight-A student and became his class valedictorian. His academic accomplishments landed him a scholarship from Harvard. He plans on pursuing a degree in computer science at the institution.

“My goal has always been to go to a school where I wouldn’t have to pay and where I wouldn’t graduate with debt,” Jenkins told CNBC. “I’m most excited about the opportunity to expand my knowledge, because there’s so much history inside Harvard’s halls and so many people from different backgrounds, and I think it’s the perfect place to cultivate a mind.” He added that his drive comes from wanting to see his family in a better situation.

Several Black teens are displaying excellence in academia. Last month, 17-year-old Oludamilola Oluwadara Adekeye received 19 acceptance letters from the most prestigious institutions around the world.


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