“Homeless teen named valedictorian,” is a news article written by Scott Stump. The news article is about the story of Griffin Furlong who was a homeless teenage boy but graduated high school with a 4.65 GPA. Furlong lost his mother to leukemia when he was 6, and his home when he was 7 , all these challenges he faced has made him become a stronger individual in the society.

A significant idea in this news articles that I learnt, was endurance. This news article made me think about how hard it would have been for him, losing everything at a very young age, and he couldn’t do anything to make the situation better.  “I’ve seen things that kids wouldn’t ever see in their lives. I would be starving at night, and I’ve seen my dad physically abused in front of me. I don’t take anything for granted any more.” Reading this quote made me think more about the unfortunate people around the world and the difficult things they have to go through everyday just to survive. Also, it made me appreciate the life I have now because I’ve never been homeless, I still have my parents who are always there for me whenever I need support, and I’ve never gone to bed hungry. The article had made me really think about insignificance of my own problems. Everyone has their own problems and I do as well, but this is nothing compared to Furlong’s. In today’s society, we care so much about ourselves that we forget about how other people are living. Some people are born into families where they have to walk miles just to get water, whereas I can just turn on the tap. We cannot choose what family to be born into, but we can choose to not give up. Furlong has demonstrated that, as he worked hard in high school to be a valedictorian, and to be an engineer like what he wanted.

When I was reading the article, I felt a sense of pity and sadness for Furlong. The reason for this is because only a few people were accepting for who he was, they were judging him when took a glance at him, even though, they didn’t know his full personality.  “A lot of kids made fun of me, but I didn’t let that interfere with what I did in school. I had a plan — just make good grades, and don’t worry about anyone else but my family.” This taught me how easy people come to judge other individuals,  and also how cruel and unfair people can be, this reflects onto the bigger picture of bullying in schools, and what impact somebody’s words can have on someone’s life. Although, Furlong was young, he learnt to focus on himself only, and not let anyone’s judgement to define who he is. He knew that the most important thing to him was his family because they were the ones who would be there for him if something happened. Lastly, it taught me about how tough the world can be, for people who act differently, look differently, behave differently and how quickly someone can come to judge a person for not being, what we classify as “normal” in today’s society. We care too much about what others think so sometimes we all try to fit in and we put on a new mask everyday in hope that people will like us and accept us, however, this is not necessary, as the most critical thing is to be ourselves. 

Overall, I found the article, “Homeless teen named valedictorian” to be extremely interesting and inspirational. When people are down, they can read this article and it will give them the will to live. Despite feeling lost and afraid you need to keep two things by you at all times, Hope and motivation. Motivation is what keeps you going and makes you realise know that ,at the end, there are always two sides to every story. The bad side is that Furlong didn’t grow up in a perfect environment like other children in his school but at the end, he achieved his goal, and nothing else matters

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  1. This is a very good, well-written response, Peech!

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