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The 'homeless valedictorian' from Jacksonville preps for graduation

Posted: May 30, 2014 - 5:57am  |  Updated: May 30, 2014 - 6:01am
First Coast High senior Griffin Furlong wears cap and gown in preparation for his graduation. His story of becoming class Valedictorian even while living without a permanent home or a mother went viral. Donations are now helping him fund the possibility of college at Florida State University.  Roger Weeder/First Coast News
Roger Weeder/First Coast News
First Coast High senior Griffin Furlong wears cap and gown in preparation for his graduation. His story of becoming class Valedictorian even while living without a permanent home or a mother went viral. Donations are now helping him fund the possibility of college at Florida State University.

Griffin Furlong knows something about challenge and success with his plight of being homeless and an academic achiever getting national attention.

On Wednesday he picked up his cap and gown in preparation for graduation ceremonies.

"I woke up the other day and saw myself on national television," said Furlong who shared his story with Times-Union news partner First Coast News last week and since then it has generated a lot of interest.

YOU'VE BEEN SPOTTED: First Coast area graduations

The 18 year-old will graduate tops in his class from First Coast High and next week will give the valedictorian speech to his classmates at graduation ceremonies, according to First Coast News.

Furlong lost his mother to cancer at a young age and lived in a homeless shelter for two years. He says his life has been all about bouncing around now living with his grandmother now after having lived briefly with the parents of his girlfriend.

"People from California contacting me, people from Hawaii, it's really been crazy," said Furlong.

gofundme.com account has generated pledges of $25,000 with nearly 500 people in six days offering to help Griffin with college expenses.

Griffin is still waiting on scholarships with his plans to study civil engineering at Florida State. The senior has a 4.65 grade point average at First Coast High.

Next week he will be addressing his classmates at graduation and share part of his past, but he says he wants to focus more on the future.

"Never give up is my main thing - just have a purpose in life," said Griffin.

Comments (2)

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hoots55
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hoots55 05/30/14 - 06:38 pm
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Proof positive that anyone

Proof positive that anyone that wants to get ahead can with the odds against them. Many prayers and blessings for his future.

johnctaughtme
13411
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johnctaughtme 05/30/14 - 01:44 pm
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Premium Member

What a great story, and what

What a great story, and what a great kid. God Bless him.

He has more than earned contributions to the site.

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