A High school valedictorian in Jacksonville, Florida, has overcome obstacles most students have never faced.
Griffin Furlong lost his mother to leukemia at the age of 6, and soon after that, lived with his father and older brother in a homeless shelter for two years in Louisville, Kentucky. His family moved to Jacksonville when he was in sixth grade and they lived in a rental house. The family struggled constantly to make ends meet and he found himself homeless last month in the midst of finals and AP tests.
His girlfriend’s mother put him up for three weeks, then he moved in with an aunt and uncle.
Through all this, he ended up with a 4.65 GPA and will graduate as valedictorian on June 4. Furlong says he always wrote in his baseball cap every season, “Never give up.”
Furlong just turned 18, and got a state ID and is now working towards his drivers license.
He loves calculus and plans on studying civil engineering at Florida State, where his brother will graduate this summer.
Furlong has received some money to help with expenses at Florida State, and a housing discount, but it is nowhere near enough to meet his expenses. He has applied for academic scholarships, but so far hasn’t gotten any good news.
Furlong said, “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.”
Furlong says he intends to share his family’s journey in his valedictorian address.