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Michael Jeffery, Homeless, Goodwill Excel Center, Washington D.C. Student, Graduate

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Michael Jeffery of D.C. is the living personification of faith and perseverance. After enduring the unthinkable, the D.C. resident recently graduated from high school as valedictorian.
NBC Washington said Jeffery lost two jobs and his home during the pandemic. He was forced to sleep under a bridge in the Navy Yard neighborhood for two years where he braved the harsh winter and hot summers.“I didn’t want to be stuck out here,” Jeffery told NBC Washington during an interview. “I don’t wish this on anybody, to be stuck out here.” Jeffery, a native of Texas, traveled to D.C. in search of a better life, WTOP News noted.  He came to the city without a high school diploma, making it difficult to find work.

Determined to make it out of his financial rut, Jeffery signed up for classes at the Goodwill Excel Center in D.C., a free high school for adults that awards industry-recognized certifications and high school diplomas. According to the institution’s website, students who enroll at the Goodwill Excel Center gain access to “academic success coaches, college career counselors” and “high-quality instructors.” The school also offers flexible scheduling for students.

The former Waffle House employee took classes for an entire year while living in his tent.

“I just had to push myself,” Jeffrey told WTOP News earlier this month. “I can’t give up. I’m not a quitter.” According to the star student, it typically takes two years to complete the Goodwill Excel Center’s program, but he was able to knock it out in a year. He took four to five classes at a time to accelerate his studies. The stellar student said he often scored 90s throughout the course.

With hard work and determination, Jeffery successfully completed his classes and graduated with his high school diploma as a valedictorian. “A lot of people don’t get that second chance, and Goodwill allowed that second chance for me, and I appreciate that,” he told NBC Washington.

Now, things are looking up for the bright star. According to the outlet, Jeffery has moved out of his tent into an apartment. He will be starting classes at Catholic University in the fall and hopes to eventually attend law school.

“I’m studying legal studies,” the valedictorian grate said. “Who would’ve thought that I would be studying legal studies, right? There was no hope in this tent, but I found it, so you see how far I’ve came and how far I will get.”Congrats to Michael Jeffery! We can’t wait to see what you do next.


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