Local Valedictorian Shares His Inspiring Story - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Local Valedictorian Shares His Inspiring Story

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It was a special evening for the Fortis Institute class of 2017 as they celebrated during their Commencement ceremony at the Warner Theater.

But, for one grad, the evening carried with it a greater meaning.

Kicking off the night was Erie native Justin Hall, the class Valedictorian. With a 4.0 GPA and almost perfect attendance record, he was a shining example of what effort can do.

While being the Valedictorian of you graduating class is quite the achievement, for Hall, it’s just the icing on the cake for what at one point, seemed like the ground was taken from right beneath him.

For five years, Hall was working at General Electric until he was displaced from his job in January 2016. Not wanting to sit around,  in April of 2016, at the age of 36, Hall enrolled back into the classroom at Fortis.

“I didn’t want to be defined by the circumstances,” Hall said.  I think it's always important to look forward and learn from the past, you know, move forward.”

Hall credits his wife, Lilia and his family as being major influences on his decision to go back to school. “ You know my parents always instilled good values in me,” Hall said. “It's not about feeling sorry for yourself, it's about, what's the next step, and I just never looked back.”

While at Fortis, Hall was enrolled in the business program. This allowed to him to eventually develop his own business with its own smartphone app. The app is called “Supplement Snoop” which helps consumers understand what is exactly in the supplements they buy.

Husband, business owner, Valedictorian, college grad. A path Hall never thought he would find himself on turned out to shape the rest of his life forever.

Hall left off with some advice.

“If I could give a message to other people in my situation, just don’t let it get you.” Hall said “Just stick to what you believe in, move forward, just don’t get discouraged. Those cliches are true, they are there for a reason, just take it one step at a time, and you’ll get there.”

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