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18-year-old homeless boy wins full-ride scholarship to Harvard university



Richard Jenkins, an 18-year-old American boy who is homeless, defeated all of his high school rivals to win the title of best student in the school.

Richard Jenkins’ family resided in homeless shelters for the most of his youth.

They experienced house foreclosure, lost their home, and spent years living on the streets while experiencing extreme poverty and a number of serious physical conditions.

Their predicament gave Richard motivation to work toward saving his family from homelessness and securing a brighter future for his unborn children.

When I was in the sixth grade, my friend was asking me where I lived while we were heading home, he recounted.

The shelter looked like a big house — it could have been a mansion. So I told him, ‘Yeah, that’s my house right there,’ because I was so embarrassed to say I lived in a shelter.

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.

Richard Jenkins got the support of a non-profit after-school program called Mighty Writers that he attended mid-school.

The program helped him with his writing skills, allowing him to apply to competitive and selective high schools to further his education.

He struggled hard and finally got accepted at Girard College in Pennsylvania, United States, a full-scholarship boarding high school for students from single-parent families with limited financial resources.

Throughout his academic studies at Girad College, Richard Jenkins spared no course as he cleared them all with straight-A’s to secure a 100% high school record and emerge the best graduating student in his class.

After securing a 100% High School record, Richard applied to several schools, including three in the Ivy League.

He was waitlisted at the University of Pennsylvania, rejected by Yale University and was finally accepted by Harvard University on a full-ride scholarship to study Computer Science.

Harvard pays 100 percent of tuition for students from households earning less than $65,000 a year and Richard Jenkins, being from a homeless family gets the benefits.

When he read the good news, Jenkins says he threw his phone in disbelief. He plans to use the knowledge of Computers to invent a “more intuitive Siri.”

“I didn’t realize it was a possibility until last year. 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,” he tells CNBC.

Jenkins says that as he looks back on his experience, he wishes he had not been so hard on himself.

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He also believes that schools could better support students going through experiences similar to his by providing a more open line of communication between students and teachers.

“My motivation comes from wanting to see myself and my family in better circumstances, and I do believe that motivation is necessary for everyone,”

But what’s more crucial is that you maintain working toward your goals once you identify them, Jenkins tells CNBC.

Richard Jenkins earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2022 from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the United States.