Tallahassee, Fla. (WTXL) -- A Jacksonville student who spent years of his life homeless has overcome many challenges and graduated from high school this week. He will attend Florida State University in the fall.
It has been a long journey to graduation day for Griffin Furlong. His mother died of cancer when he was six years-old and he spent two years in a homeless shelter between the ages of seven and nine.
His father and brother struggled financially for years and Griffin was homeless again during the final weeks of high school. Despite all of that, he graduated with a 4.65 grade point average from First Coast High School.
Griffin was Valedictorian of his class.
During his Valedictory speech, he encouraged his fellow classmates to never give up- saying, "I never gave up, no matter how bad I wanted to" and he spoke directly to his peers telling them, "do not live a life without purpose. Deep down inside you know you have something to show, so whether you realize it or not... never make excuses."
It was during his Valedictory speech that he informed his classmates of the hardships he faced; he also said he made the grades he does because he was once lost and had nothing.
Griffin Furlong's story has achieved national attention and his experiences have been showcased on GoFundMe.com, where over $97,000 has been pledged for his college education.
Furlong will join the Florida State University class of 2018 this fall and plans to study engineering.