Homeless Florida teen graduates valedictorian - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Homeless Florida teen graduates valedictorian

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NBC) - The path to graduation was a bit of a rocky road for one high school valedictorian in Florida.

Griffin Furlong managed to earn a 4.65 grade point average, was named valedictorian and was accepted to college all while his family life was in turmoil.

"I never really wanted to show my face and I was just really down on myself because people didn't understand, like my peers didn't understand what I was going through," Furlong said.

His mother died of cancer when he was just 6 years old. Soon afterward, Griffin, his father and older brother ended up living in homeless shelters.

For a while the family had a rental home, but the financial hardships persisted. In April, just before finals and AP exams, Griffin was homeless again.

"I would just think to myself at night do I continue to do this, or do I make something of myself," Furlong said.

His girlfriend's parents put him up for a while then he moved in with an aunt and uncle. Through all the ups and downs, Griffin never missed a day of school, or a homework assignment and kept his struggles to himself.

Furlong was accepted to Florida State University. Friends set up on an online fundraising website to help him pay for college.

Overwhelmed, Griffin says the only thing missing now is his mom.

"I just want her to hear my speech and know that without her none of this is possible," Furlong said.

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