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Once-homeless teen who was bullied, called ‘Harvard’ for being a bookworm makes it into Harvard on a full ride

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PHILADELPHIA — A teen who was picked on for being a bookworm and called “Harvard” by the bullies is going to Harvard University on a full ride, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Richard “Tre” Jenkins, an 18-year-old who attends the Girard College boarding school, found out he made it into the prestigious university during a school trip to Paris.

Jenkins told WHYY he decided to focus on his education in sixth grade after he lied to a friend about living in a homeless shelter because he was embarrassed.

“That was 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 said.

Never without a book by his side, Jenkins became the target of bullies and said he had to learn to downplay his intelligence — but never in front of his mom, Quiana McLaughlin.

Jenkins told the Inquirer his mom always stressed the importance of education and always made sure he had what he needed for school, despite being a single parent in poverty.

Jenkins was this year’s valedictorian at Girard College.

When McLaughlin found out her son got into Harvard, her response was “I was not surprised.”

Jenkins told WHYY he plans to study computer science and create a more intuitive version of Siri.

For those who make it in, Harvard pays 100 percent of tuition for students from households that earn less than $65,000 a year.

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