A Washington, D.C. resident has taken an unfortunate situation and flipped it into triumph.

After losing his two jobs and home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael Jeffery ended up living in a tent under a bridge in Navy Yard, according to NBC 4 Washington.

“I didn’t want to be stuck out here,” Jeffery said, according to the outlet. “I don’t wish this on anybody, to be stuck out here.”

He added, “We don’t want pity. A lot of people in this situation is just like me. We want better; we want more.”

And indeed, Jeffrey went out and pursued better for his future. The outlet details that in 2022, he took classes at the Goodwill Excel Center, a free high school for adults, for a full school year with the tent still his home.

“Understanding that many students may come into the program with varying skills having been out of the classroom for some time, our courses are designed to meet students where they are regardless of level,” Goodwill Excel Center’s website describes. “Students will progress and earn credits in eight week terms held year round.”

After two years living in the tent, Jeffery moved into a new apartment in July 2023. What’s more, he graduated from Goodwill Excel Center as valedictorian. 

“A lot of people don’t get that second chance, and Goodwill allowed that second chance for me, and I appreciate that,” the high school graduate shared.

Following receiving his diploma, Jeffery is staying steadfast on his academic path. In the fall, he is set to begin his studies at Catholic University. He aims for the next stop after undergrad to be law school.

“I’m studying legal studies,” he said. “Who would’ve thought that I would be studying legal studies, right? There was no hope in this tent, but I found it, so you see how far I’ve came and how far I will get.”