Homeless Florida Student Beats The Odds, Scheduled To Graduate College This Weekend

This Saturday 23-year-old Joshua Williams will be walking across Bethune-Cookman University’s graduation stage, accepting a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. While a college degree is a major accomplishment for any young adult, what makes Joshua’s story so remarkable is that he was homeless for a large portion of his time spent at the university.

According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, Joshua was raised in a crime-ridden area of Miami. In 2011 he suffered the loss of his 16-year-old brother, who was found dead in a lake. With the assistance of a teacher with the enrollment process, Williams was accepted to Bethune-Bookman University. Expenses were high and each semester Williams was expected to pay $10,000 in tuition, room and board fees. Realizing that the costs were becoming unmanageable, he told his school that he would be living off campus after his first year. The truth was that Williams didn’t really have any place to stay, but he realized that he could no longer afford to pay for room and board, so he resorted to sleeping on friends’ couches and unlocked truck beds for the following two years.

To make matters worse, he couldn’t afford to pay for textbooks, so he took detailed notes during lectures, which greatly assisted him in getting by.

“I was always worried about my next move — Where would I stay? How long can I stay here? When is my family going to send me money?” he told the News Journal.

During his junior year, Williams revealed to his university’s student body and faculty that he was homeless, which prompted an advisor to secure a room for him in one of the school’s residence halls. Last year Williams was named Mr. Bethune-Cookman, which guaranteed the 23-year-old go-getter free room and board for his senior year.

If this extraordinary story has you smiling from ear- to-ear, then I’m happy to inform you that it gets even better. According to the News Journal, Williams also started the Keeper of Light Scholarship Fund, which aims to help underprivileged students purchase textbooks. So far he’s raised $2,750!

“He hasn’t left and he’s already serving others. His spirit and mind is in the right place,” said university president Dr. Edison O. Jackson.


Check out an informational video on Williams’ scholarship fund below. 

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