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Can Your Child Go To Harvard? Part 1

Popularity 11Viewed 10452 times 2017-6-12 18:33 |Personal category:Education|System category:News

Victoria (her English name) was just 14 years old. When I met her, she looked older. She certainly acted more mature. She came to the Binhe Park English corner where I taught free lessons every Sunday morning for 3 hours. She always stood in front. She took in everything I said. She took notes on every word that proceeded from my mouth.

One day, her mother showed up. I'd seen Victoria there for almost 2 years. I'd never met mom or dad. They asked if they could talk to me. Of course, Victoria's English was nearly fluent. She didn't need a translator. 

She asked me if I'd write her recommendation for college. I said, "College? Are you kidding? It's a little early for you to be thinking about that." She assured me that she knew what she was talking about. I actually felt pity for her. I knew she was from the countryside. A small village near Zhengzhou. I felt it was going to be difficult to explain.

She assured me that she could do it. She'd recently done two online SAT practice exams (America's Gaokao). She'd gotten a perfect score both times. I was impressed, but, still felt she was thinking all wrong about college. She had just finished middle school.

I asked her where she wanted to go to college after she insisted that she knew what she was doing. She said, "Princeton in the USA." Oh my god! I couldn't believe what she was saying. 14 years old. From the countryside and she's got Princeton on her mind. She was barely old enough to take the SAT.

I assured her that I'd help her in any way that I can. She asked again for the recommendation. So, I wrote it. I helped her do her application and write her essay. We finally got everything together to apply. I went to the post office with her and her mom and sent it off.

I didn't hear anything from her for about two weeks. She didn't even come to the English Corner. Finally, nearly a month later, she called. She asked me if I would do a Skype video interview with the admissions officer at Princeton. I was shocked. They took her seriously.

One thing I didn't know was that she'd traveled to Hong Kong to take the SAT. She did that several months before without me knowing. She'd gotten her results. She'd scored a 2240 on the SAT. Amazing! Very impressive to say the least. 

I did the interview and the admissions officer assured me that they were seriously considering her application. 

Some weeks later, she showed back up at the English Corner. She had a piece of paper with her that wanted to show me. It was her acceptance into Princeton University. I was in shock. Not only was she accepted, but, they offered her a full four year scholarship. Her mother was crying. I was crying. Victoria was just happy.

Right now, she's finishing her second year there. Princeton had arranged for her mother to find employment while staying there with her daughter. Part of their scholarship money was going to pay for some living expenses. Her mom was making the rest.

Henan has a reputation that hasn't always been so good. However, one little girl from the Henan countryside is studying at one of the top, most prestigious universities in the world. She's going there for free. The cost would be about $56,000 a year. Nearly 400,000 RMB a year. But, not for Victoria. 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)





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Reply Report tailorsas 2017-6-13 10:00
A real life Sheldon?Haha,but anyway,thank u Micheal for helping this little girl fulfill her dream and offering a path to a broader horizon/a new world.Your worries make great sense to me,but it is her dream,she has the right to make her own decision,and you said she acts more matured than het peers,I bet it's been amazing to have you around her.
Reply Report GhostBuster 2017-6-14 14:12
Micheal, you have done an extremely excellent job by giving free English lessons. Victoria must be one of the few who persevere, while you lead the genius in her demonstrate it beyond call to glory! GREAT FRIEND OF CHINA, MICHEAL!
Reply Report GhostBuster 2017-6-14 14:15
More like Victoria could be out there waiting patiently for the opportunity to be given to them. Knowledge belongs to those who work for it. Strongly discourage those who plagiarize their way and could not even handle the basic question put fore to them. Not a few but just too many and always on the rise to the top without dignity!
Reply Report parcher 2017-6-20 10:26
Amazing story..
Reply Report Liononthehunt 2017-6-28 00:21
Amazing and inspiring.
Reply Report Belinda_GS 2017-7-10 10:46
Wow, amazing !Have a dream, this story recalled  me  Martin Luther King's " I have a dream", anyone will persuit his or her with right track will get a goo d mark, I do believe, thanks for your help without any dicriimination... Friendship is without national borders, your story proved that.

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Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.


Recent comments

  • Encouraging Trends in Chinese Education 2018-6-26 15:08

    Well done Michael! you are still rocking here!

  • Brilliant Chinese Parents 2018-6-21 14:40

    parcher: i was asked to teach my collegues daughter english, because her teacher was doing such a poor job (his words ) i tried to put him straight that rome w ...
    You are wise.

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