Teen becomes valedictorian of his high school graduating class despite battling homelessness

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Despite battling homelessness, a Florida teen has become the top student in his high school graduating class, WFOX reports.

Martin Folsom had been waiting and praying for the moment he got 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,” Folsom said. 

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 he had to overcome hurdle after hurdle to make it to this point. 

Folsom and his mother have been in an 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 mother 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,” Folsom said. 

He plans to attend Valdosta State in Georgia during the fall semester. 

After college, he hopes to work for the FBI. 

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