“Courage isn’t usually a roaring beast. It’s the quiet voice whispering at the end of the day, “I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Get married to Anne Radmacher.
Life is, in fact, all about perseverance and determination. We get better the more we attempt.
Many times, the odds are stacked against us, and we fear there is no way out, but if we want to be the individuals we’ve always wanted to be, we must persevere, as Griffin Furlong, valedictorian of the First Coast High School Graduating Class of 2014, did.
This young man never missed an assignment and finished with honors as the class’s top student. Griffin had been homeless for the previous 12 years, which many of his friends and classmates were unaware of. He was forced to sleep in shelters and other people’s homes with his father and sibling during high school. Griffin’s father struggled to make ends meet when his mother died when he was seven, and the family was forced to live on the streets.
Despite this, Griffin worked really hard in class.
Through his valedictorian speech, many people learned about his challenges. They were stunned, to say the least. Griffin’s peers couldn’t believe how difficult his life was.
This young man stated in front of over 500 people that “giving up is not an option.”
“I’ve lost track of how many sleepless nights I’ve spent alone on a chilly plastic mattress. He told Good Times, “I cried, thinking that my existence would soon wash away so that I wouldn’t have to suffer the hardships of an apparently cruel world.”
“I never gave up, no matter how much I wanted to,” he continued. To everyone who has come before me, please do not live a life without meaning. You know deep down that you have something to show. So never make excuses, whether you recognize it or not, especially when you have a loving family who can provide you with everything you need and want.”
His girlfriend’s family offered him a room to stay while he was studying at Florida State University.
#FeelGoodFriday RT@FCN2go Griffin Furlong is on RIGHT NOW on @GMA. #HomelessValedictorian. Tune in! pic.twitter.com/6ngGcpQYSR
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 13, 2014
“I simply want to show that no matter what you’ve been through, you can do it.” “I never want to live that life again,” he told ABC News. “I do everything I do because I don’t want to live like that.”
Griffin and his fiancée aim to launch a scholarship for those who are going through the same hardships they are.
In an interview with TODAY.com, Griffin remarked, “Just never give up.” “Never let somebody tell you that you can’t accomplish something because that’s what I’ve been taught my whole life.” People used to tell me I wasn’t smart, but today I’m at the top of my class.”