Acts of Kindness
Teen homeless for 12 years graduates at top of his class “because I have everything to lose”
His teachers never even knew he was homeless until now.
Laura Shallcross
05.06.21

While high school can be tougher for some than for others, there’s no denying that it’s an incredibly beneficial time for the men and women of the future.

There are many aspects of high school that teach you the value of success.

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Of course, there’s more to happiness than simply achieving greatness in life, but nobody would ever argue that having the drive and educational background to succeed isn’t a good thing.

Perhaps the greatest thing a student can achieve in their high school career is to be named valedictorian.

It’s no easy feat to get this title – you have to carry a GPA of 3.9 to 4.0 throughout your high school years.

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Most of us were guilty of taking a “year off” in high school – whether that was in our first year, when we were trying to adjust to a bigger workload, in our third year, when the social side of schooling became too much of a distraction, or in our last year, when the mounting pressure became too much and quitting at the last hurdle just seemed easier.

But if you want to be named valedictorian, you can’t even take a day off learning – not unless you want to risk your grades sliding.

You’d imagine, therefore, that only the kids that have the privilege of growing up in a stable household have the opportunity to be awarded this prestigious title.

But one specific high school valedictorian, Griffin Furlong, was refreshingly different from the stereotype.

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ABC News/ YouTube

The reason why this teen’s story is so special is because he didn’t have that stable childhood. In fact, for the past 12 years, he and his father have been homeless.

Throughout his high school career, Griffin never had the security of his own bedroom, or even the same roof over his head.

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ABC News/ YouTube

Unsurprisingly, for a lot of homeless kids, finding a quiet environment to learn in is simply impossible.

That’s what makes Griffin such an inspiration: he defied the odds, being determined to graduate, and eventually did just that.

He was right there with the rest of the students on graduation day – and as if that wasn’t an achievement enough, he was also named the valedictorian for his class.

ABC News/ YouTube
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ABC News/ YouTube

Griffin is clearly a mature kid for his age.

When he was asked how he felt to graduate, he simply said:

“I just want to show that anyone can do it, no matter what you’ve been through. I never want to live that life again. I do everything I do because I don’t want to live like that.”

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ABC News/ YouTube

Griffin’s story is a reminder, too, to never judge a homeless person, because you never know what led them onto the streets.

When his mom unexpectedly passed away from cancer, his dad could no longer afford the family home.

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ABC News/ YouTube

Griffin remembers one night, lying in bed feeling starving and with nothing to eat, knowing that he had school the next day. His situation was terrible – but shockingly, teachers never knew what he was facing.

Despite the battles that the pair had to face, Griffin, his brother and his dad emerged triumphant in the end.

ABC News/ YouTube
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ABC News/ YouTube

Griffin clearly has a promising future ahead of him, and his father must be incredibly proud.

You can learn all about Griffin’s homeless background and his journey to valedictorian by watching the video below.

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By Laura Shallcross
hi@sbly.com
Laura Shallcross is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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