VELLORE: A tea seller gifted a gold chain worth `1 lakh to the district topper of tenth board exam on Friday.
V Maheswaran, a native of Vrinjipuram, who owns a tea shop at the new bypass road in the Fort city, also awarded silver coins and cash prize of `1,000 each to five students who obtained the second and third places from among govt school students.
The gold chain was gifted to R Naveen Kumar of Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Gajjalnaickenpatti in the presence of the Collector R Nanthagopal.
The boy had obtained 495 marks and obtained first rank in the SSLC public exams among the students of government schools in Vellore district. Maheswaran had announced his decision to encourage district toppers of tenth standard by giving them an expensive gift during a career guidance programme by the education department at the Voorhees College a few weeks ago.
In his younger days, Maheswaran had to drop out of school and work as a child labourer. He worked in tea shops and after several years, moved to Vellore where he could open his own tea shop, which he runs along with wife Ezhilarasi (38).
“We now want to support kids hailing from poor backgrounds by encouraging them to continue their studies,” said Maheswaran.
Since 2008, he has been giving away small gifts and cash prizes to top scorers in the board examinations in the Government Girls HSS in Thottapalayam and EVR Nagammai Girls HSS.