A 17-year-old man in southwestern China learned that he was accepted into the nation’s top university while mixing mortar at a construction site.
Cui Qingtao braced himself for this year’s gaokao, or the National College Entrance Examination, and scored a stellar 669.
He applied to Peking University, regarded as China’s most prestigious academic institution, and got into its School of Journalism and Communication.
Cui, who lives in Qujing, Yunnan Province received his acceptance letter on Sunday while helping his family build a new home in their village.
Cui’s mother read the letter to his father, who is unable to read.
Both parents did not attend university and rejoiced at the news.
According to China Daily, Cui spent his vacations getting up at 3 a.m. to water and fertilize plants in greenhouses to earn money for the family.
He was described as an “obedient” and “thoughtful” son.
Through a government subsidy of 40,000 yuan ($5,889) and debts from others, the family is able to start a new home, Sina News reported.
“You reap what you sow. Now I’m leaving my home village for college, but I’ll return and someday change the poor conditions of the village,” he said.
Cui will go to Peking University with his acceptance letter on Aug. 30.