“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering: I will try again tomorrow.” – Marry Anne Radmacher.
The truth is that life is all about persistence and determination. The more we try, the better we get.
Many times, the odds are against us and we believe there is no way out, but if we want to become the people we’ve always dreamed to be, we should keep going, just like Griffin Furlong, valedictorian at First Coast High School Graduating Class of 2014.
This young man never missed an assignment and graduated as the best student of the class. What many of his friends and classmates didn’t know was that Griffin had been homeless for the last 12 years. During high-school, he was forced to sleep at shelters and other people’s places together with his father and brother. After his mother passed away when he was 7, Griffin’s dad struggled to make ends meet and the family was forced to live on the streets.
Despite all that, Griffin studied very hard.
Many learned of his struggles through his valedictorian speech. Needless to say, they were shocked. His classmates couldn’t believe how hard Griffin’s life was.
In front of more than 500 people, this young man said that “giving up is not an option.”
“I can’t even count the number of sleepless nights I spent alone on a cold plastic mattress. I cried, internally hoping that my life would soon wash away so I would not have to bear the hardships of a seemingly evil world,” he shared with Good Times.
He then added: “I never gave up, no matter how bad I wanted to. To everyone sitting here before me, 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, especially when you have a loving family able to give you what you need and want.”
As he was planning to get a degree at Florida State, his girlfriend’s family offered him a room to stay.
#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 just want to show that anyone can do it, no matter what you’ve been through. I never want to live that life again, I do everything I do because I don’t want to live like that,” he told ABC News.
Having experienced the homeless life himself, Griffin and his girlfriend plan to start scholarship for others who go through the same struggles in life.
“Just never give up,” Griffin said in an interview with TODAY.com. “Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, because I’ve been told that all my life. People would tell me I wasn’t smart enough, and now I’m here at the top of my class.”
This young man is the perfect definition of inspiration. You can hear his speech in the video below.