Richard Jenkins grew up in homeless shelters earned full ride to Harvard University


Richard Jenkins

Meet Richard Jenkins, he spent his early years moving between homeless shelters, hospital beds and motel rooms, to getting accepted to Harvard. He committed to himself to academics and excellence and went on to become the valedictorian of his high school and grabbed a spot at Harvard.

“In the sixth grade, one time I was walking from school with my friend, and he was asking me where I lived,” he recalled. “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.” He shares in an interview with a Philadelphia public radio station WHYY.

“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 assumed this would mean he would attend a smaller school nearby. “I didn’t realize it was a possibility until last year,” he tells CNBC Make It.

“I’m most excited about the opportunity to expand my knowledge, because there’s so much history inside Harvard’s halls and so many people from different backgrounds, and I think it’s the perfect place to cultivate a mind,” he says.

“My drive comes from just wanting to see myself and my family be in a better situation and I do think drive is important for everybody, but what’s more important is that once you find what it is that you want, you have to keep working for it,” he says. “People may think that they’ve done enough, but it’s never enough.”

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