Black Teen From Louisiana Graduates With 3.9 GPA Despite Being Homeless

Meet Elijah Hogan, a 19-year-old African American student from New Orleans, Louisiana, who graduated as valedictorian despite experiencing homelessness. Living in a shelter did not prevent him from graduating at the top of his class, even with the hurdles of remote learning in 2020.

“It’s been tough and rough, had a few trips and falls down, [but] I’m alright,” Hogan told Good Morning America.

Hogan owes his accomplishment to Covenant House and Walter L. Cohen High School. He thanked his instructors, classmates, and staff, stating, “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today as a valedictorian.”

Hogan and one other student from Walter L. Cohen High School’s class of 2024 share the title of valedictorian, with an exceptional GPA of 3.93 each. During his graduation address, he expressed deep appreciation for his community.

Looking back on his high school experience, Hogan says he was first scared but gradually made great friendships. Jana DeCoster, Cohen’s director of student activities, and Jarkayla Cobb, his Covenant House case worker, have provided him with invaluable assistance.

DeCoster applauded Hogan’s thanks, noting that kids rarely publicly appreciate their supporters. Cobb witnessed Hogan’s development, characterizing him as first quiet but now confident and talkative.

Hogan, a lover of Marvel and Stan Lee, enjoys reading nonfiction and making art. He is about to begin a new chapter at Xavier University of Louisiana, where he intends to major in graphic design.

Hogan recommends that kids who want to follow in his footsteps pursue their education.

“There is a time and place where you can have fun, but try to keep yourself organized on some of your education as well, because without your education, you will not be able to get through the hardships and meet the people that helped you along the way,” Hogan said.

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