Defying the odds, New Orleans high school student, Elijah Hogan, has graduated high school as Valedictorian while homeless.

Hogan has been living in the Covenant House, which provides a place to stay for youth who are homeless, for the last year & a half. Interviewed by WDSU6 reporter, Shay O’Connor, the young scholar shared a message with his peers, encouraging them to look beyond their circumstances to achieve greatness.


“This goes out to all African-American children. Teens included. Despite where you are or the area you are in, even though it might look bad. There are moments where there will be people who will give you a guiding hand. Take that opportunity. My main challenge was fitting in. There were a lot of obstacles I went through. But I was able to confront them head-on.”

“Don’t let others define who you are. Don’t let things get you down. Let these moments help you. Get through,” Hogan concluded.

Elijah Hogan graduating. WDSU6/INSTAGRAM

Hogan graduated from Walter L. Cohen High School with a 3.8 GPA and thanks those in the Covenant House and his out-of-state-family for their help and support to get him this far. Hogan’s mother died when he was eight-years-old.

“[There are many to thank,] one of them is the Covenant House. Without their help, I wouldn’t be here where I am. The other is my family members. They are out of state, but I still have connection with them,” Hogan said.

Jarkayla Cobb, Hogan’s case worker, told O’Conner that it came as no surprise to the Covenant House staff that this amazing young man graduated as valedictorian. They knew just how bright he was immediately. Cobb attended Hogan’s graduation, videoing the moment that he gave his class speech. She said the moment brought her to tears.

“I can see him really just enjoying this moment. It was all I could ask for. Such a great moment.”

Elijah Hogan sharing graduation moment with caseworker and others. WDSU6/INSTAGRAM

What does the future hold for this phenomenal young man? Well, in the fall, he will head to Xavier University on a full ride to pursue graphic design. 

Congratulations, Elijah! The future seems amazingly bright for you.


Photo: WDSU6 Screenshots

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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