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Homeless high school student graduates as valedictorian


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CNN Newsource) — Despite battling homelessness, a Florida teen has become the top student in his high school graduating class.

Martin Folsom has been waiting, praying for this moment, to put on his hard-earned cap and gown as class valedictorian.

“It kind of gave me a jolt in my chest a little bit so it was a good feeling,” said valedictorian Martin Folsom.

And while his walk across the stage may have been taken away due to the pandemic – his determination to get to this point will never waiver.

“It means a lot and it gives me a sense of all I’ve done and all I have accomplished was worth it,” Folsom said.

Especially since Folsom had to overcome hurdle after to hurdle to make it to this point.

Folsom and his mother have been in and out of homelessness since he was a kid and throughout his four years at a Philip Randolph Career Academy.

“It was actually the time when we were not really homeless for the longest time but it was when we were at our lowest because it was when we literally had nowhere to stay for an entire day,” Folsom said.

His drive for a better future kept him going.

And his mom was there every step of the way to make sure his big dreams never faded.

“She has been the person that whenever I did, end up getting upset or whenever I needed somebody to laugh with or talk to she was always there, she was always encouraging me, as far as I know, I’m the first person in my family to actually get a college degree,” Folsom said.

Folsom plans to attend Valdosta State in Georgia in the fall.

After college, he hopes to work for the FBI.

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