Homeless Tennessee student graduates as valedictorian
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee student who graduated as his high school’s valedictorian despite being homeless will attend Tennessee State University with all expenses paid.
Tupac Moseley said at a news conference Thursday on the campus that he was offered multiple scholarships totaling $3 million but he chose the historically black university in Nashville because he thought the campus experience would be similar to his Memphis high school.
He added that the support he has received from the school has been “more than abundant” and the school seems to be “full of people who care about you.”
Moseley said his family fell behind on bills after his father died at the end of his sophomore year. They lost their home when it was foreclosed in February and he spent the final months of his senior year bouncing between relatives’ houses and a cabin at a Christian retreat center.
“I had to have the mental capability and capacity to focus on, ‘OK. I still have to get this scholarship done. I still have to get this essay done, even though I don’t know where I’m going to be the next day, physically be, or what I’m going to eat the next day.’”
Despite the uncertainty and stress, Mosley graduated from Raleigh-Egypt High School on Sunday with a 4.3 GPA.
He said one of the things that kept him going was the memory of a conversation he had with his father shortly before he died. “He was proud of me and wanted to see me graduate. I kept that in mind as I went forward,” Moseley said.
Moseley plans to major in electrical engineering because he said technology has been a passion of his from a young age. He turned 18 on Thursday and the dean of TSU’s College of Engineering presented Moseley with a new laptop at the news conference.
TSU President Glenda Glover said Moseley is a “brilliant young man” and the university is happy to provide him with a scholarship, housing, a meal plan and a part-time job.
“We want his homeless days to just be a memory,” she said.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Moseley’s last name. It also corrects where he lived while he was homeless. He lived with relatives and in a cabin. And it corrects the spelling of Raleigh-Egypt High School.