LifestyleHomeless Teen Who Overcame Difficult Childhood to Graduate as Valedictorian Inspires Many...

Homeless Teen Who Overcame Difficult Childhood to Graduate as Valedictorian Inspires Many and $90,000 College Fund Was Raised for Him

Griffin Furlong is a Florida teenager who made waves on the Internet because of his stellar achievement. At 18 years old, he graduated as class valedictorian even amidst heartaches and challenges.

During his valedictory address, he said, “Everyone thinks I try to make good grades because I’m smart. Not true. I perform the way that I do in the classroom because I have everything to lose. I make the grades I do because I was once lost and had nothing.”

Credit: NBC News

Griffin has had a tough childhood. At six years old, his mother died of leukemia. Then in a few months, his family lost their home and ended up in shelters. He recalls that he often went to bed hungry and there were many times that he just wanted to quit. “I never had a full childhood. I felt like I wasn’t even human anymore. And I would just think to myself at night, ‘Do I continue to do this or do I make something of myself?'” he said in the address.

According to his aunt, Nany Nancarrow, “He had nothing else but to study. He didn’t have the things that most children have: the TV, you know all those things. He would go to his room when he was home and he studied. That is his entertainment. We’re proud of him.”

His teachers also praised his work ethic. Jennifer Stover, his calculus teacher who also sent letters of recommendations for his college application, Griffin was an excellent student and a remarkable kid. “He’s an inspiration to everyone around him. He’s a nice kid. He’s respectful and does whatever is asked of him with a smile and without complaint.”

Credit: Elite Readers

The incredible work that Griffin puts into his education is a product of his mindset that education will help him build a good life for himself. He said that he hopes that his story can inspire those who are facing many hardships in life. “Despite the obstacles I faced, I know that I can actually do something with education,” Griffin added.

Griffin’s desire to excel in school was only surpassed by his enthusiasm for baseball. All four years of high school, he was a member of the varsity baseball team. He was a pitcher and a shortstop who never missed a day of practice. He wrote his motto inside his baseball caps to keep himself focused: Never Give Up.

“Don’t dwell on the past, use it as motivation for your future,” he told the graduates. “It’s amazing what you can do with your life when you have motivation, ambition and most importantly, a purpose.”

Griffin plans to study civil engineering at Florida State University where his brother, Sean, is due to graduate from this summer. He was able to secure grants to cover some living costs, but last month the teenager had still not heard back from applications to get help covering his tuition.

A Go Fund Me page was set up on Griffin’s behalf, and in just two weeks more than $90,000 had been raised for his college fund.

‘Wow, this is truly a blessing! I can’t even fathom how much this means to me and my family,’ Griffin wrote on the page last week, as he thanked his many supporters.

Life can throw a lot of curveballs at you. You would think life is smooth sailing and then it suddenly takes an unexpected turn. What is important is that even if you hit the dirt, you must dust yourself off and stand up to try again.

Remember that we have a great God who is our present help in times of need. If He has provided the ultimate blessing through the sacrifice of Jesus, then how much more will he save us from the trials we are going through. Keep praying and keep pressing forward because God is just a prayer away.

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