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Girl Who Grew Up in Garbage Dump Earns Scholarship at University in Australia

Living in the garbage dump, working at a very young age to help earn money for her family, Sophy Ron’s future was bleak. But she recently graduated valedictorian and on her way to Australia to study on a scholarship she earned from the University of Melbourne! Wow.

Sophy used to live in the Phnom Penh garbage dump in Cambodia. Just like many children in that garbage dump, she did not go to school and simply spent every single day going through the trash for something she and her family could sell. At the end of the day, she has a few coins for her efforts and some food to munch on, to ease her hunger a bit.

Photo credit: CCF

She was already 11 years old when the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) rescued her from the garbage dump and sent her to school. Though she was not able to go to school when she was younger, the young lady soon caught up with the others and quickly exceled in her studies.

Thanks to the continued help of the non-profit organization, Sophy was able to put her life in the garbage dump behind. A brilliant young lady, she would graduate as valedictorian from Trinity College and went on to receive full scholarship from the University of Melbourne.

Standing on stage and giving her valedictory address in fluent English, there was no trace of the girl from the garbage dump in Sophy. Yet the young woman has not forgotten her past. She plans to return to Cambodia so spend time with her friends before starting out a new semester at the University of Melbourne.

Photo credit: CCF

Congratulations, Sophy! Always keep your feet firmly planted on the ground…

What is a Valedictory Address?

A valedictory address is a speech given by the class valedictorian. In elementary and high school, this is much easier to determine as there is often just one valedictorian – the person who earned the highest marks in school, sometimes including points in extra-curricular activities.

Photo credit: CCF

In college, this can be a bit tricky if many receive the same highest honors (for example, there are several magna cum laude or possibly summa cum laude) but schools often break the tie by choosing the one with the highest weighted average or some other criteria. Some schools even let the aspiring valedictorians ‘apply’ for the honor, with a committee choosing the winner.

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