Griffin Furlong, the former homeless Florida teen whose 4.65 GPA made him class valedictorian recently, said he is overwhelmed by all the support he has received since a fundraising page was put up in an effort to raise money for his college expenses.
Furlong, 18, told First Coast News that he spent his childhood
bouncing around different homes and homeless shelters after his mother died of cancer when he was 6. He's now living with his grandmother as he prepares for graduation, where he'll be speaking to his fellow seniors at First Coast High School.
"I woke up the other day and saw myself on national television," Furlong told the local newspaper. "People from California contacting me, people from Hawaii, it's really been crazy."
Furlong's plight started to gain attention after a family friend set up a GoFundMe.com account to share his story and raise money for his college expenses.
The page has generated more than $57,000 by more than 1,000 people in the past eight days.
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"This young man has faced obstacles in his life that he pushed through and overcame always staying positive and making the best of every situation," the GoFundMe.com account states. "He has remained focused on his school and baseball through the years and is graduating from First Coast High School with a 4.7 GPA. He plans to attend [Florida State University] in the fall. This young man is an inspiration to everyone he meets."
Furlong, who stayed with his girlfriend's family and relatives at times while excelling in school, told the "Today" show that he saw earning good grades in class
as his outlet to succeed when everything else in his life seemed less stable.
"I knew I was going to be poor for the rest of my life, so I thought if I could continue to do well in school, eventually scholarships would be coming my way and I would be getting a free education,'' Furlong said. "I would look up things and talk to teachers. I was aware of what I could do if I kept making good grades."
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