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High School Graduate Elijah Hogan Becomes Valedictorian While Homeless


Elijah Hogan, a 19-year-old high school senior from New Orleans, recently graduated as valedictorian of Walter L. Cohen High School with a 3.93 GPA despite experiencing homelessness.


“I thought they were mistaking me for someone else, but when I looked at it and I was shown evidence that it was me, I was in awe, like, I was jaw dropped,” said Hogan, who was born in New Orleans and raised mostly in Houston.


 Hogan became homeless a year and a half ago when the lease on his grandmother’s house expired, leading him to live on his own while his grandmother moved to a care home. He found shelter at the Covenant House in New Orleans, which offers transitional housing for young people. The shelter's program allowed Hogan to focus on his education without the burden of rent.


Hogan's academic achievement and resilience were recognized as he was named one of four Black male valedictorians in New Orleans this spring. He credits the support from Covenant House staff, particularly his case manager Jarkayla Cobb, and the high school staff for helping him overcome his challenges. Despite losing his mother just before he turned 12, Hogan was motivated to pursue his education for his grandmother's sake.


“Elijah’s accomplishments are worth celebrating. We know that they are a product of his character and the choices he made day after day to pursue his dreams,” Jerel Bryant, chief executive officer of Collegiate Academies, which operates Hogan’s former high school, said in a statement.


In his valedictorian speech, Hogan shared his journey and encouraged other young people to be their own guiding light. He plans to attend Xavier University in New Orleans in the fall, where he will study graphic design on a scholarship. Jerel Bryant, CEO of Collegiate Academies, praised Hogan's character and determination, highlighting his success as an example of the potential and excellence of Black youth in New Orleans and beyond.


“To any race, no matter what color or accent you have, you are your own guiding light,” Hogan said. “You are your own storybook that you write. Let yourself be the pen that you write on paper.”


Link: CNN

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