Homeless student to graduate as valedictorian

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

Martin Folsom has been waiting and praying for the moment he could 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,” he 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.

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

His drive for the 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.” Folsom said. “As far as I know I’m the first person in my family to actually get a college degree.”

Folsom plans to attend Voldosta State in Georgia in the fall. After college, he says he hopes to work for the FBI.

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