Tupac Mosley, 17, graduated from Raleigh Egypt High School this spring as the school’s valedictorian- despite becoming homeless, finding ways to maintain high achievement marks in school all the while wondering where he would sleep at night. (Photo: Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal)
Tupac Mosley, 17, received a text from his mother Tuesday evening asking him if he felt overwhelmed from the attention he is getting after receiving $3 million in scholarships and getting recognized as his high school’s valedictorian with a 4.3 GPA.
The scholarship announcement came on the day of Raleigh Egypt High School graduation as Mosley was sitting on the stage on Sunday. His scholarships went from one page of the graduation program to the next.
The feeling was shocking, he said.
“I did not expect me to be the person who is representing my community at this caliber,” Mosley said. “I now see the true impact that I can have on children going through situations similar to mine, or even worse than mine.”
Mosley, a homeless Memphis teen, said his father passed away at the end of his sophomore year.
After his father’s passing, financial struggles and his school going through administration changes — principals, teachers and other staff began reaching out to him.
Right after his sophomore year, Mosley scored a 31 on his ACT. This year, Mosley received the Gates Scholarship.
His final semester was his most trying time because of life outside of school. In February, Mosley had to move out of his home and just recently established a permanent residence.
The support system that followed him through his journey in school motivated him to be greater, Mosley said.
“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 said.
He was always at the top of his class academically and was a valedictorian in middle school.
He knew when the success continued in high school, he could win scholarship money, he said.
His classmates were also supportive of him and Mosley said he wants to walk the next chapter of his life with them. Mosley said he hopes to come back to Memphis and tell kids not to let their circumstance be in the way of what they want in their future.
After finishing his electrical engineering studies at Tennessee State University, Mosley wants to come back to Memphis to teach students coding and expose them to more engineering opportunities.
“I would love to see more diversity to these fields. And not only racial diversity but socioeconomic diversity. I would love to see people from low-income households become these great engineers, doctors and lawyers. They can do it too,” Mosley said.
“I see it as the best way to serve my community in the future.”