Philadelphia teen Richard Jenkins used to sleep in a homeless shelter and was nicknamed ‘Harvard’ by bullies for being a bookworm. Now, he is going to the same Ivy League school on a full scholarship.
Jenkins attends Girard College, a boarding school in north Philadelphia, and is this year’s valedictorian.
The 18-year-old found out the good news while in Paris earlier this month on a school trip. He said Wednesday that he was so excited he threw his cellphone in the middle of a call.
‘I set the tabs on my computer for all the Ivy League schools I had applied to. I checked Penn; I got wait-listed. I checked Yale and I got denied.
‘In the back of my head I’m already thinking, “Okay, Harvard’s going to deny me too.” And then I open up the Harvard tab and there’s a link to a video saying, “Welcome to the class of 2022.” I was talking to my girlfriend; I threw my phone!’ he recalled to WHYY.
Jenkins said he decided to focus on academics after lying to a friend about sleeping in a homeless shelter in the sixth grade.