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Student experiencing homelessness defies the odds to graduate high school as valedictorian

The 19-year-old initially couldn't believe it when he learned that he'd graduated high school with a 3.93 GPA.

Student experiencing homelessness defies the odds to graduate high school as valedictorian
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe

Homelessness is a major disruption in many people's lives and a significant challenge to overcome. Therefore, achieving your goals despite homelessness is truly noteworthy. One Louisiana student proved himself to be one such noteworthy individual by graduating as a valedictorian in his class while facing homelessness. The 19-year-old named Elijah Hogan graduated from Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans on May 24 with a 3.93 GPA, reports CNN. "I thought they were mistaking me for someone else, but when I looked at it and I was shown evidence that it was me, I was in awe, like, I was jaw dropped," Hogan shared.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Gül Işık
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Gül Işık

Elijah, born in New Orleans and mostly raised in Houston, became homeless a year and a half ago. He had been living with his grandmother since he was 11 years old. Unfortunately, Hogan and his grandmother were given 30 days to vacate the house when the homeowner decided to sell it. To ease his grandmother's burden, Hogan decided to go his own way. Now, he is one of four Black male valedictorians in New Orleans schools.


 
 
 
 
 
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During this challenging time, his grandmother moved to a care home, and Hogan began living in a homeless shelter for people aged 16 to 22. He has been living in the shelter called Covenant House in New Orleans since then. The organization provides rent-free housing to young people for up to 24 months, helping them overcome homelessness by working to save money or finding better living arrangements. "It really allows them to get stable and identify more permanent, stable housing," Rhenelsha Robertson, the director of the housing, told the outlet. They also shared that they had five high school graduates this year. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Collegiate Academies (CA) (@collegiateacademies)


 

In his valedictorian speech, Hogan shared that he received significant support from the shelter's staff and his high school. "As time went on, I started to open up to people over at Covenant House as well as Cohen people were there to support me and give me a guiding hand. Without them, I wouldn't (have) become who I am today," the 19-year-old expressed. The boy lost his mother a little before he turned 12. He shared that he feels she would have been proud of the path he is walking on now. Hogan will start college in the fall of 2024 at Xavier University, per Good Morning America. He is set to study graphic design there.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Collegiate Academies (CA) (@collegiateacademies)


 

The boy thanked the community that helped him achieve so much during his speech, reported ABC News. "The speech in itself was more of a thank-you letter to the school, to the staff, to the students and their parents for helping us to get past our school years and get us where we are now graduating, going off in the world." Sharing some words of advice for younger people, Hogan explained: "There is a time and place where you can have fun, but try to keep yourself organized on some of your education as well because, without your education, you will not be able to get through the hardships and meet the people that helped you along the way." Hogan started a GoFundMe campaign to support his education and bring stability to his life. By far, he has received over $38,000 as a donation.



 

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