New Orleans Valedictorian (Elijah Hogan) Defies Odds – Graduates Top of His Class While HOMELESS | Video

Shay O'Connor

*NEW ORLEANS (WDSU) — Beating the odds. A high school senior (Elijah Hogan) was crowned valedictorian at his high school. But it’s how he did it that will have you inspired.  It’s because Hogan lives at the Covenant House, a homeless shelter.

Elijah Hogan had a message for New Orleans youth.

“This goes out to all African-American children. Teens included. Despite where you are or the area you are in, even though it might look bad.

There are moments when there will be people who will give you a guiding hand. Take that opportunity,” Hogan said.

Elijah Hogan - WDSU via CNN Newsource
Elijah Hogan – WDSU via CNN Newsource

Hogan graduated with a 3.89 GPA from Cohen.

“My main challenge was fitting in. There were a lot of obstacles I went through. But I was able to confront them head-on,” Hogan said.

He had many people to thank.

“One of them is the Covenant House. Without their help, I wouldn’t be here where I am. The other is my family members. They are out of state, but I still have a connection with them,” Hogan said.

Along with the memory of his mother, who died when Hogan was only 8. For the last year and a half, he’s been a resident at the Covenant House, which provides a place to stay for youth who are homeless.

His case worker, Jarkayla Cobb, said organizers at the house knew just how bright Hogan was right away. She videoed Hogan’s speech to his class, which brought her to tears.

“I can see him really just enjoying this moment. It was all I could ask for. Such a great moment,” Cobb said.

For the teen, the struggle was one he took in stride, knowing his achievements will inspire his siblings and other youth who may find themselves in a similar situation.

“Don’t let others define who you are. Don’t let things get you down. Let these moments help you. Get through,” he said.

Covenant House officials said Hogan is one of at least five others who live at the shelter who graduate this year. They are all excelling in their studies.

Elijah Hogan - WDSU screenshot
Elijah Hogan – WDSU screenshot

Hogan has a full ride to Xavier University in the fall, where he will major in graphic design.

As soon as the story aired on WDSU, organizers with Blessed 26, a male mentorship program in New Orleans, reached out to invite Hogan to events with the program.

Click here for updates on this story

OTHER NEWS ON EURWEB.COM: L.A. Teen Starts Destiny Education Project to Address Systemic Racism in School Curriculum

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