Homeless Teen Overcomes Odds to Become High School Valedictorian

They always say that we should be kind to others, because we never know what battles they are facing. This is extremely true in the case of Griffin Furlong. No one in his class could have imagined the bomb that he dropped on them at their graduation.

Griffin graduated from First Coast High School with a GPA of 4.65 all the while playing baseball. What his fellow students didn’t know, was that he was also homeless. He and his brother, Sean, had grown up in various homeless shelters over the years after his mother died. Griffin’s mother died when he was only 6 from leukemia – from there, his father moved him and his brother into a homeless shelter.


There were also many nights that he and his brother would go hungry. But despite all of these difficult situations, Griffin quickly decided that he would “Never give up.” This became his motto – one that he even wrote on the inside of his baseball cap every season. He realized at a very  young age that education was his only way out – and he would not compromise that for anything. He focused on his studies, and didn’t worry about the fact that many kids would make fun of him for having to take a different bus to school. He couldn’t have friends over, but no one ever imagined that the real reason was so devastating.

Griffin’s small family had a rental home for a short period of time. But right before his high school final exams, they lost the rental home – meaning he was homeless again. Thankfully, this time, he had his girlfriend Avery, whose family let him stay with them until he could move in with relatives. The young couple has already been through a lot together, and Griffin credits some of his success to Avery. He stated that he knows she loves him and is proud of him, and she helped to give his life purpose.


The teen now has more than $90,000 raised for his college education, as well as grants and other financial aid, thanks to supporters and people who have heard his story. They started a GoFundMe page for him, and his support just skyrocketed. He plans on attending Florida State University, where his brother Sean also attended, and wants to study civil engineering.


We wish you nothing but the best, Griffin. But we know you’ll be just fine – you’ve already proven to the world that you won’t ever give up!

Watch the video of his speech below!

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