The valedictorian revealed about his homeless life and his determination to rise. (Photo via Ijustlikethis)
With a confident and determined gaze, Griffin Furlong, the valedictorian with a near absolute high score, said to the crowd: “Giving up is not an option, we can accomplish everything. as long as we have a purpose. “
In front of more than 500 students graduating from First Coast High School, who knew little of Griffin’s situation. He boldly shared about his difficult time with the crowd that he was a homeless person, repeatedly suffering from hunger, cold and sleeplessness for many nights, …
Unfortunate childhood: Endure hunger, tolerate cold …
Griffin said he lost his mother at the age of 7. She passed away due to leukemia. At that time, in the empty house only Griffin, father and an older brother remained.
Not long after the mother’s death, the life of the father and son seemed to be more difficult than before. They become homeless and have to rely on compassionate houses to live temporarily. There were days when he couldn’t eat enough, Griffin had to go to bed fast and went back to school the next morning.
“I have to really mature. Because I had to taste things that the others have never experienced. I endured nightly starvation and watched my father be beaten in front of my eyes. Now, I know how to appreciate everything I have, I don’t think it is obvious that I get any more. “
There were also times when Griffin felt so exhausted that he no longer wanted to continue.
“At some point, I felt like giving up. It was horrible that a child comfortable have to endure these things, ”recalled Griffin.
“I can’t even count the number of sleepless nights I have to go through. There were days when I had to sleep on a cold plastic sheet, and I cried many times. Inside, I hope my life will be cleansed soon, so that I don’t have to endure the hardships and hardships of this world anymore. “
There were times when Griffin was tempted by some bad friends, but most of all, he knew what his greatest purpose was.
“A lot of friends make me happy, but I won’t let that get in the way of my path to school. I have a plan for myself, because I understand just study well, get good grades and try not to let anyone distract me, outside of my family. “
The young man realizes that the only chance for him to improve this life is to study hard. (Photo via wesh)
The young man realizes that the only chance for him to improve this life is to study hard. Griffin never misses a lesson and always completes his homework completely. He also regularly scores well on exams, and now Griffin is the school major with an average score of 4.65 (out of 5).
“My friends think I have a normal life like everyone else. People think I try to get good grades because I’m smart. But it’s not like that… I made a lot of efforts, because I got lost and nothing in my hand.
Finally, to end the speech, Griffin sent a message to all of you during the ceremony: “Never think about the past, but use it as motivation for yourself in the future.”
“Never think about the past, but use it as a motivation for yourself in the future.” (Photo via Faithit)
Griffin also shares his experiences so he can work hard to overcome when he feels too difficult in life.
“Positive thinking. I try to get everything I have to do. School is all I have, family is all I have. I do everything for them and for me. And also my mother, who died very young. “
Griffin also said he would go to Florida, USA like his brother, and wanted to study engineering. However, high tuition and living expenses will likely affect his future study goals.
Therefore, in order to help Griffin, some of his friends set up an online fundraising account on gofundme and within two weeks they raised $ 90,000.
In addition, Griffin also wants to create a scholarship fund for other students in Florida under similar circumstances.
“Failure is the success of the mother. When we’re driven, progressive, and most importantly, have a purpose, we can do great things, ”Griffin says.
Arguably, this is the first time everyone, including the professors, has experienced Griffin’s difficult life through his account except for a few very close friends.
“I cried when I heard this news. She is very active in the classroom and has never used her family history as a crutch to justify not being able to do anything, ”said teacher Natalie Donald, who taught Griffin.
Indeed, Griffin is a guy who deeply impresses his teachers. Many teachers praised his academic achievements.
“He’s a remarkable kid and a great student … Griffin is the inspiration for everyone,” said teacher Jennifer Stover.