Homeless teen graduates at top of his class - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Homeless teen graduates at top of his class

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WHDH) - A Florida high school senior is about to graduate at the top of his class and he did it against all odds.

Griffin Furlong's mom died from leukemia when he was just 6-years-old.

Since then his family has been homeless several times and has always struggled financially.

Most of his teachers and classmates had no idea what was happening at home because griffin always managed to maintain his focus and motivation.

"At some points I wanted to quit. It was horrible. A kid should not have to go through that,” he said.

His family moved to Jacksonville, Florida when he was in 6th grade. They lived in a rental house but it was always a financial struggle, often having little to eat and constantly having to depend on family members for help. A month ago with finals and AP tests still ahead, he found himself homeless again. His girlfriend's mother put him up for 3 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.

"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,” Furlong said,

Furlong says he every season he wrote ‘never give up’ in his baseball cap

He turned 18 earlier this month, just got a state ID Wednesday, and will soon get his driver’s license. He loves calculus and plans on studying civil engineering at Florida State where his brother will graduate this summer.

"I wrote him a letter of recommendation, and said he was the hardest working, most motivated student I have ever had,” one of Furlong’s teachers Jennifer Stover said.

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.

"It is pretty frustrating, I thought being valedictorian, you should deserve a full scholarship, a full tuition scholarship, all I have been able to land is grants , that is need based so that is pretty tough,” he said.
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