Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Grateful former student creates scholarship to honor teacher who changed his life

Before he met Linda Brandt, Steven Ma didn't care about school — he regularly skipped class and never got an A.

Ma told CBS Sacramento he had been told by one teacher he was "the stupidest student" he had ever seen, leaving him with "no self-esteem, there was no self-dignity." Things changed when he entered Brandt's classroom. She was his 10th grade geometry teacher, and Ma said she pushed him to "see who I was. She made me discover what I could do."

Now, the Lodi, California resident is the CEO of Thinktank Learning, a college prep and tutoring company, and an international education liaison for California's Department of Education. In honor of the teacher who changed his life, Ma is offering two Linda Brandt Scholarships, each worth $15,000, for deserving students at Lodi High School. Ma said he wanted Brandt to know he was "forever thankful for her." Brandt is now retired, having taught for almost 30 years. "I had no idea that I actually had that sort of an effect on Steven and I'm just so proud of him for all that he has accomplished," she said.