Martin Folsom, a high school senior in Florida has graduated at the top of his class, despite the hardships of living in homeless shelters with his mom.

He emerged as the class valedictorian of A. Philip Randolph Career Academy in Jacksonville. He was set to walk across the stage last week for graduation, but was canceled due to the pandemic.

Martin said his drive for a better future kept him going, and having his mother by his side helped ensure he reached his dreams. He and his mom have struggled with homelessness since he was a kid, and throughout his four years of high school.

“It’s been a rocky road, been a lot of hardships, but seeing myself here right now, about to graduate and go to college, it feels good knowing that all the stuff I’ve done, it was worth it,” Martin said.

He served as the class president for his grade for four years straight, from 9th grade to 12th grade. Now he will go on to college in the fall and says that will be a big day for his family. “As far as I know I’m the first person in my family to actually get a college degree,” he said.

Martin plans to attend Valdosta State University, and hopes to one day work for the FBI.

Congratulations, Distinguished Martins.

This is a clear definition of Determination and hardwork leads to success and is evident in Martin’s story.