Richard “Tre” Jenkins, 18, from Philadelphia went from homeless to Harvard-accepted with a full scholarship last week, reports ABC News.
Jenkins lived in a homeless shelter, suffered migraines and his father had a heart attack in the time between fourth to sixth grade. The young scholar was bullied for participating in class and received the nickname “Harvard” by those who harassed him. After lying to a friend about where he lived, Jenkins said he realized he wanted to seek a better path in life for himself and his future children.
“I was walking home with friends, and he [Jenkins’ friend] knows where his house is and pointed to his house, and he’s like ‘Hey, where you live?’, and I lived in a shelter at that time, but my shelter looked like it could’ve been a huge house. I said ‘That’s my place over there,’” said Jenkins.
“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,” he told WHYY.
Despite being bullied, he says credits participating in at Mighty Writers, an education nonprofit that provides free writing classes to inner-city Philly youth, with helping his essay writing and making it to the Ivy League. Jenkins applied to Harvard in his junior year after being attracted to a university program that pays tuition for students from households earning less than $65,000 a year.
He plans to major in computer science and wants to create the first sentient artificial intelligence program.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.