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A stranger’s $50 tip and advice convinced this Philly bakery worker to return to college. Then she soared.

Before attending CCP, Anyssa El Manfaa had a chance encounter that led her to pursue higher education. This year’s Jack Kent Cooke scholarship awardee, El Manfaa previously worked in a bakery where she struck up a conversation with a customer about quantum mechanics and the concept of infinity. The man handed her a $50 bill and said, “You shouldn’t be working in a bakery. You should be in a classroom.”  El Manfaa quit her job at the bakery and has since finished her associate degree with a 4.0 GPA in May. El Manfaa, who lost her father to deportation when she was four years old and began working at the age of 13 to financially help her family, will spend the summer studying critical languages in Azerbaijan. She will then head to Swarthmore College, which also gave her a scholarship, to major in conflict resolution and peace studies. 

—The Philadelphia Inquirer