By Melissa McGlensey, May 28, 2014
Griffin Furlong, from Jacksonville, Fla., has faced more trials than your average high school student, and yet he still managed to triumph over adversity and succeed.
The teen lost his mother to cancer when he was a child, leaving him with his father and older brother. Soon after the death of his mother, the three found themselves living in a homeless shelter for two years, CBS 10 News reported.
When Furlong was in sixth grade, his family finally moved into a home but money was scarce and they often went hungry, according to WFTV 9. Then, just a few weeks before graduation, Furlong found himself without a home once again.
“At some point I wanted to quit,” he told WFTV 9. “It was horrible. A kid should not have to go through that.”
Furlong spent a couple weeks at his girlfriend’s house before moving in with an aunt and uncle, yet managed to keep up his incredible 4.65 GPA through all the turbulence of moving from place to place, CBS 10 News reported.
“I try to accomplish everything I need to do,” he told the outlet. “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.”
On June 4th, he will graduate as his high school’s valedictorian with plans to attend Florida State University and study civil engineering.
Even after all that Furlong has overcome, he still faces obstacles. The formerly homeless valedictorian can’t afford the cost of tuition and has not had any luck with academic scholarships yet.
However, thanks to the generosity of strangers, this story has a happy ending. A GoFundMe page that was started for Furlong last week has already exceeded its goal of raising $20,000 so that this determined teen can go to college debt-free.
A truly inspiring story made possible by sheer will to overcome, and by the generosity of people all over the world.
To make a donation, visit Griffin Furlong’s GoFundMe page here.