Homeless teen becomes class valedictorian, wins $3M in college scholarships

Tupac Mosley of Memphis, Tennessee was elected class valedictorian and won $3 million dollars in college scholarships. (Photo: Courtesy of Black Market Strategies)

Tupac Mosley, 17, became class valedictorian and earned $3 million dollars in college scholarships, all while his family was homeless.

When Mosley was a student at Raleigh Egypt High School in Memphis Tenn., he submitted applications for 50 universities, earning admittance into 44 with generous aid, including the prestigious Gates Scholarship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Upholding his A-average in high school and graduating with a 4.3 GPA (attributed to extra points from his advanced classes) was demanding, especially when Mosley’s father died from organ failure in April 2017. “My dad tried to tough it out for a long time and he always put his children first,” Mosley tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

After his father passed away, the family depended on Mosley’s mother’s tight income as a company manager. Still, Mosley, who says he “loves homework” kept his focus on school, often arriving hours early for class. In January, the teen was elected valedictorian due to his extraordinary GPA.

Mosley also applied to colleges all over the country — sight unseen — to study electrical engineering. “I never had a ‘dream school’ but I wanted to go somewhere with a good support system,” Mosley tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Acceptance letters arrived, most with abundant scholarship offers. Some were mailed to Mosley’s rental apartment and others to his high school, as the family braced for possible eviction. In February, unable to pay rent, Mosley, his 22-year-old brother, and their mother were forced out of their home.

The family stayed with friends until March, when the principal of Raleigh Egypt High School reached out to For the Kingdom, a non-profit with Christian-based campgrounds for children.

Executive director Torrey Bates wept during the phone call, hearing of Mosley’s dedication to his school work. “Being a homeless shelter hasn’t been part of our mission in the past but we try to be good neighbors,” Bates tells Yahoo Lifestyle. That week, he offered Mosley’s family a renovated home on his property.

“We didn’t pry into their family situation to respect their privacy,” says Bates, a father of eight. For six weeks, Mosley attended school and in the evenings, he sat on the front porch of his cabin and did his homework. The family grew close to Bates, who hosted them for Easter dinner.

“Tupac is an exceptional example of resilience,” Bates tell Yahoo Lifestyle. “To watch him be so gracious, that comes from within.” For the Kingdom will offer Mosley’s cabin as a refuge for the homeless, now that Mosley’s family moved into a new apartment on Monday.

On Sunday, as valedictorian, Mosley spoke to his senior class about losing loved ones and prospering over difficult times, all in the context of his classmates. “I wanted to keep the focus on the whole class,” Mosley tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

The teen ended his speech with a quote by the late rapper Tupac Shakur. “Class of 2019, make sure you always keep your head up,” he said. “And for every dark night, there is a brighter day.”

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