philadelphia high school student wins full-ride scholarship

Here's a great story out of Philadelphia -- something positive, for a change -- about Central High senior Heirl He, who has won a four-year, full-ride grant from the Leonore Annenberg College Scholarship Fund: Philadelphia high school student wins scholarship after parents' deaths.

Heirl lost both her parents -- refugees who fled Cambodia in the early 1908s -- to cancer several years ago. Her hard work and academic achievements are part of a pledge to honor their memory:
Easy never did figure into the marital equation for He's mother and father. Both born in Cambodia to Chinese immigrants, they barely survived the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge and, in the early 1980s, fled to America to build a family. With menial work, a translation dictionary, and steely resolve, Huor He and Chheng Tea managed to feed two more mouths.

But in April 2005, breast cancer claimed He's mother. In September 2006, liver cancer took her father.

What they left their daughter, then 13, was a lesson about making the most of a life that wasn't easy. She did - and this month won a four-year, full-ride grant from the Leonore Annenberg College Scholarship Fund.

Poise, passion, and a grade-point average that honors courses boosted past 4.0 were some, but only some, of the reasons why arbiters of the Annenberg Fund chose He, now 17 and soon to be a Central High School senior, as one of five national recipients.

The scholarship, named for the philanthropist who established it a year before her death in 2009, is offered to young people with potential to lead their generation.
She sounds like an amazing young woman with a bright future ahead of her. Even before she was awarded the grant, college was a foregone conclusion. At least now, she doesn't have to worry about paying for it.

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