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Overcoming adversity: Homeless high school student graduates as valedictorian of his class

Teenager Elijah Hogan reportedly spent his entire senior year living at the Covenant House New Orleans, a nonprofit shelter and community for homeless youth.
Graduation Cap
Posted at 11:35 AM, May 31, 2024

A high school teenager reportedly spent his entire senior year without a permanent place to live. But against all odds, he graduated and was crowned valedictorian of his class.

Elijah Hogan was just 8 years old when he lost his mother, and has spent the last year and half in the New Orleans Covenant House youth homeless shelter, according to WDSU News. And despite the obstacles and adversity that comes with being in that living situation, Hogan wanted to set a positive example for all the other youth experiencing similar situations.

"This goes out to all African American children, teens included," he told WDSU's Shay O'Connor. "Despite where you are or the area you are in — even though it may look bad and down — there are moments where there will be people who will give you a guiding hand to help get you through. So, take that opportunity."

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Hogan reportedly graduated from Walter L. Cohen High School with a nearly perfect 3.89 grade-point average and had many to thank for his accomplishment, including the Covenant House.

"Without their help, I wouldn't have been here where I am," he told WDSU. "[The other] is my family members. Despite them being out of state, I still have connections with them."

As for future aspirations, Hogan has reportedly accepted a full-ride scholarship to attend Xavier University in Ohio this fall and plans to study graphic design. Covenant House New Orleans congratulated him in a post on social media, saying "We're so proud of you!"