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Bride gives up fancy ring; College-bound student benefits from ‘Diamond Scholarship’ instead

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DENVER -- A Denver bride gave up her dream of a big diamond engagement ring in order to help a deserving student realize her dream of a college.

When Maneesh Modi proposed to his girlfriend Manasi he didn't give her a big solitaire diamond.

"I was a little taken aback and surprised and, of course, I'm like any other girl who's dreamt of what type of engagement ring I've wanted my entire life," Manasi Modi said.

Manasi warmed up to the idea when Maneesh told her that he wanted to take the ring money and wanted to use it to help someone get an education.

"(Education) is what brought both our parents to this country. It's what allows us to live comfortably," Maneesh said. "So the first thing that came to my mind was that you could take that money that you spend on a ring and you could send a kid to college and that could change someone's life."

The couple decided to offer a $20,000 scholarship to one student at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School. They chose KIPP because, even though 100 percent of the school's graduating seniors were accepted into college, 95 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

On Thursday, Maria Guzman a senior at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School, was officially recognized as the recipient of the scholarship.

"Only someone with such a big heart would give up a ring to help someone go to school," Guzman said.

Guzman said she didn't think she was going to be able to afford to go to CU Denver until she was surprised by her new diamond ... scholarship.

"I wanted to call it the 'books over bling' scholarship," Maneesh Modi said with a laugh.

"I said no," Manasi Modi said.

Though she didn't get a solitaire diamond, Manasi Modi still got a very nice engagement ring, and she says she doesn't miss the big rock.

"Giving someone an opportunity to realize their dreams was a much bigger thing than just what I wanted," she said.

The Modis are now happily married and they say this is also just the beginning of their relationship with Maria Guzman. They will meet with her every semester until she graduates from CU Denver.


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