Putri Ariani, the 17-year-old blind songstress who touched many hearts in the nation and beyond with her America’s Got Talent (AGT) audition, can now count on a full ride courtesy of the government should she get accepted to her dream school.
Last week, Putri wowed AGT judge/executive producer Simon Cowell, with the notoriously grumpy talent spotter awarding her a rare Golden Buzzer, which sends a contestant straight to the finals of the competition. On stage, Putri mentioned that her dream is to attend New York’s Juilliard School, one of the most prestigious performing arts schools in the world.
Needless to say, people in Indonesia are head over heels for Putri, including President Joko Widodo, who expressed his pride in the teenager and urged her to continue following her dreams in the name of the nation.
To help Putri get there, Education Minister Nadiem Makarim met her at his office on Friday and offered her a full scholarship through the Indonesia Forward Scholarship (BIM) program.
“The inspiration of Putri for this country is extraordinary. Therefore, we want to realize Putri’s dream of studying at her dream college,” Nadiem said in an official statement.
Recognizing the difficulty in gaining acceptance into Juilliard, Nadiem also said that he would help Putri in the admission process to her dream campus by providing a letter of recommendation from his ministry.
“So in addition to a full scholarship for college later, in the process of registering Putri to campus, preparation for the test will also be supported through this scholarship,” he said.
Putri Ariani, who got a scholarship from Nadiem Makarim, could not hold back her tears of joy. She thanked the minister for helping her to study abroad.
“Thank you. I’m very happy. Since I was little, my dream was to study at Juilliard,” Putri said.
The BIM scholarship is given out to high-achieving high school students as they enter tertiary studies. The scholarship also assists students in their application processes.
While many are happy for Putri, there is some murmur of discontent online over the distribution of scholarships like BIM, as people believe that other high-achieving and talented students may slip under the government’s radar.
“Putri deserves the scholarship, but just look at the pattern of government officials tending to reward those who go viral,” one user commented on Twitter.