New Orleans Teenager Elijah Hogan Overcomes Homelessness And Graduates At The Top Of His High School Class

New Orleans Teenager Elijah Hogan Overcomes Homelessness And Graduates At The Top Of His High School Class

Elijah Hogan’s life circumstances did not deter him from graduating high school at the top of his class.

Hogan recently graduated from New Orleans, LA’s Walter L. Cohen High School. However, for more than a year while attending school, he lived at the Covenant House, a local homeless shelter, People reports. He learned about the shelter from his grandmother, a retired social worker.

“Her lease form for the house that we all used to live in started to expire, and we only had 30 days until we had to move out. So, I took it upon myself to live independently,” Hogan told People. “She gave me some info about Covenant House and told me to continue on with my education. …Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to finish my high school years, giving me a place to stay, a place to eat, a place to sleep. I wouldn’t have been able to be where I’m at now.”

In May 2024, Hogan graduated as the class valedictorian with a 3.89 grade point average.

“Above all the trials, tests, and hardships, what led us here is that we all set a goal to reach,” Hogan said in remarks at his graduation ceremony, according to the outlet. “Each individual on this stage has proven themselves to be able to move into the next stage of evolution. Take pride in how far you have come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy your journey.”

Jarkayla Cobb, Hogan’s case manager, also attended his graduation ceremony. “I was front row and center. He was the first person to walk out, and I was the first person to yell his name before every other parent started yelling their kids’ names,” Cobb said. “To see him and be here to experience him experiencing joy — I couldn’t ask for anything more, to be honest with you.”

Looking ahead, Hogan will attend Xavier University of Louisiana on a full-ride scholarship. He plans to major in graphic design and is looking to publish a comic book when he completes his studies.

Hogan wants to offer guidance to those who have also faced tough circumstances. “You are the bulldozer that could break your limitations. That’s my advice,” he said. “Just don’t let it hold you back or put you down. Keep pushing forward without any doubts in mind.”

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