BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Dunbar High School student is this year’s recipient of the Henrietta Lacks Scholarship, Serigne Ndiaye, who is from Senegal, is an eleventh grader at Dunbar, the scholarship is valued at $40,000.

“I’m so speechless, I thought I was just going to be a finalist, but then I said, ‘Wow, $40,000’, my mother is so emotional right now she can’t even speak,” Ndiaye said.

The scholarship is named for Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cancer cells led to numerous breakthroughs in medical research, it’s presented by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, it’s the eighth year for the award.

“His ability to overcome adversity and keep your vision firmly planted on the future, he’s shown that throughout his high school career, we have every reason to believe he will use this money well and be a successful student,” said Dan Ford, Vice Dean for Clinical Investigation at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The Dunbar High School marching band kicked off Monday’s ceremony, and City Councilman Robert Stokes, who was also a Dunbar graduate.

A member of the Lacks family was also on hand for Monday morning’s presentation at Dunbar.

“Debra Lacks, Henrietta’s oldest daughter, realized that young people need an opportunity to be able to further their education other than high school,” said Shirley Lacks, Henrietta Lacks’ daughter-in-law.

Ndiaye said he would like to become a doctor or a nurse practitioner.

“A $40,000 scholarship wouldn’t be easy to find at other schools, but here at Dunbar, if you work for it, you might have it,” He said.

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