Homeless Memphis Valedictorian Gets Full Ride to College and $3M in Scholarships

Tupac Mosley’s hard work in the face of adversity has paid off in a big way. The homeless Memphis teen was the valedictorian of his graduating class and earned $3 million in college scholarships.

The Raleigh Egypt High School graduate became homeless after his father passed away at the end of his sophomore year. Despite the hardships, Mosley worked hard and graduated with a 4.3 GPA. He received more than 50 scholarships, including the Gates Scholarship, totaling $3 million.

After his father’s death, Mosley’s family fell behind on their bills and were eventually evicted from their home. “We went to different homes so far, and we’re blessed to have For the Kingdom,” Mosley told FOX13 of the camping site and nonprofit. For the Kingdom’s director allowed Mosley’s family to stay there, FOX13 reported. The teen credited his support system at school for motivating and pushing him to be the very best. “Anytime I feel like this is too much for me to handle, this is overbearing, I can’t do this anymore, they have always been in my ear to me to make sure that I never give up. I didn’t want to disappoint them,” Mosley told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Mosley spoke of his struggles, including the loss of his father, in a moving speech at his graduation ceremony on May 20. “Many of us on stage have lost one already, including myself. I lost my father my sophomore year,” he said. “But that did not act as a complete deterrent to any of us, because we are still here today, on stage, graduating.” He also told his classmates that they can achieve anything as long as they work hard and believe in themselves. “Never let your current situation, whatever circumstances you’re going through, be a mountain that you can’t climb,” he said, according to WKRN. In the fall, the 17-year-old will attend Tennessee State University (TSU) to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. On May 22, he was surprised with free housing and a meal plan from the university’s president. TSU President Glenda Glover drove from Nashville to Memphis to meet with Mosley and surprise him with a permanent place to live during his college years.

“For the president herself to drive down to one of the schools, to actually assist the person personally, to take him or her up there for a visit is just mind blowing to me,” Mosley told FOX13. He added that he was even more excited to attend TSU in the fall. Glover welcomed Mosley to the “TSU family” and said she was thrilled he chose the school. “He’s the epitome of what the young man should be,” she told FOX13. TSU did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for further comment. After earning his degree at TSU, Mosley told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that he wants to return to Memphis to teach students coding and to expose them to engineering opportunities.

“I would love to see more diversity to these fields. And not only racial diversity but socioeconomic diversity,” he told the newspaper. “I would love to see people from low-income households become these great engineers, doctors, and lawyers. They can do it too.”


About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.