MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) – “I’ve always thought about being different since I was born,” said JaQuan LeGrand.
JaQuan LeGrand is the first of eight siblings to graduate from high school. But getting to this point was not that easy.
He left Florida to escape a bad environment. However, after arriving in Tennessee, he faced homelessness and even walked an hour a day just to go to school.
“Coming here has improved me. It changed my life. I went to church here. It just started to be different, ”said LeGrand.
During his trip he found someone he could count on.
“He and another student declared themselves to be my sons. I think it had more to do with the Halloween candy I had at home, ”said Leslie Mertz, a teacher at Holloway High School.
As a teacher, Mertz taught him both in and outside the classroom. She helped him open a bank account and even get his ID card.
“He still continues to drag himself. I think persistence is what many lack, not even students, but adults, and all of us, ”Mertz said.
With the tools to succeed, JaQuan plans to go to college and major in computer engineering.
“I want to see what my life will be like when I go to college and when I graduate from college,” LeGrand said. “I’m just ready for my future.”