For high school graduates who are looking forward to higher studies, there’s no more exciting news than receiving a college acceptance letter, and for one Indiana teen, this good news is multiplied by 65.
Taran Richardson of Indianapolis worked hard to have as many options as possible; he had applied to over 70 colleges, and his long list of acceptance letters amounted to over $1 million in scholarship offers, reported IndyStar.
The teen filtered and narrowed down the offers based on the academics and financial help offered by the institutes, and finally settled with one name: Howard University in Washington.
“I could see myself in that place,” Richardson told the news outlet. “I pictured myself going there since Day 1.”
Richardson’s mother, Maurita Willingham, who works as a flight attendant and could never go to a college herself, said: “I planted the seed for him to go to college, and he took that seed and just bloomed and blossomed.”
Meanwhile, proud stepfather Davis—who works three jobs to make a living and hopes for a better life for his stepson through a college education—was not surprised about Richardson’s remarkable accomplishments.
“I’m in survival mode. We can’t change that,” Davis told WUSA. “But we changed it for him.”
The Indy teen, whose motto had been #NoSleepInMySchedule, proved that hard work when done with a clear direction in mind bears the right fruit.
Apart from excelling in his academics, the teen was playing all four sports at Charles A. Tindley Accelerated High School and served as class president for four years. Richardson also worked a part-time job at Wal-Mart and volunteered for an anti-violence nonprofit.
As part of his Eagle Scout project, Richardson organized a spring career fair designed to help at-risk youth find jobs for the summer to keep them on the right path and reduce gun violence.
“A lot of people always talk about that teens and youth don’t have resources that are around them and really, I believe that’s not necessarily true,” he told WISHTV. “It’s just that we don’t have the initiative ourselves to go out there and look for them.”
As for choosing Howard out of the 65 offers, the university’s proximity to NASA Headquarters helped the teen make the final decision.
“Career-wise, I want to work for NASA as an astrophysicist for at least half a decade or full decade and then branch off and create my own business of science and technology,” Richardson told the Indy Star.
While Richardson, like many other college students, is staying home to take up online classes this fall semester, he’s not letting the pandemic dampen his enthusiasm for college. He’s also aware of all those who helped him along the way, including his mother, his stepdad, his boy scout troop leader, teachers, and many more.
“Obviously I wouldn’t be in the situation or the place I am right now without all those people that helped me get to where I am,” Richardson said. “And I want to do the same for others.”
Richardson hopes to arrive on the Howard campus in January 2021 to start the spring semester and the next chapter of his life.
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