Homeless student Griffin Furlong has defied the odds stacked against him by graduating as the high school valedictorian of his class. The amazing part is that he also pulled off a grade point average (GPA) that is higher than most Americans.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, another intelligent student embedded a secret message in her yearbook photo quote only to be punished by school officials when they figured it out.
To give you an idea of how hard Furlong’s life has been, he first lost his mother to leukemia when only six years old. From then on he lived in a homeless shelter in Kentucky with his father and older brother until they moved to Jacksonville, Florida when he was in 6th grade. These memories left a distinct mark on the young man:
“At some point I wanted to quit. It was horrible. A kid should not have to go through that.”
The family managed to maintain a rental house for most of middle school and high school but the family always struggled with finances and had to be supported by other family members. But then in the final months of his high school Furlong’s family once again became homeless just as he was preparing to take advanced placement (AP) tests and final exams.
During all these trials and tribulations Furlong says he used to write “never give up” in his baseball cap each season. He also said there was one thing that let him succeed:
“Positive mindset. I try to accomplish everything I need to do. I know that I have everything to lose. So I just push myself. School is all I have, family is all I have. I am doing it all for me and what I have been through. I am doing it for my mom.”
Teachers also loved having Furlong as their student. For example, Jennifer Stover, his calculus teacher, gave Furlong high praise for his positive attitude:
“I wrote him a letter of recommendation, and I said he was the hardest working, most-motivated student I have ever had. He never missed a day of school, was always at baseball practice and managed to get his homework done every night and always do well.”
Fortunately, his girlfriend’s mother and his aunt and uncle helped him during this time period but it was still a struggle. In the end, it was all worth it since he managed to pull off a 4.65 GPA, which is much higher than the United States average of around 3.00 GPA. He plans on going to Florida State University (FSU) to study civil engineering, but even then his history as a homeless student haunts him:
“It is pretty frustrating. I thought being valedictorian, you should deserve a full scholarship, a full tuition. All I have been able to land were grants. That is need based, so it’s pretty tough.”
Still, Griffin Furlong has not yet received the results of his scholarship applications, so it is possible he will earn a full scholarship based upon his academic excellence. Griffin plans on sharing his family’s journey when he gives his valedictorian address at the graduation ceremony.