MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (CBS 42) – Jay Burgos had lived in Puerto Rico his entire life.  He lived on a farm with his grandparents for a period of time–where he discovered his love of animals.

“Chickens, cows, pigs, dogs, and cats,” he remembered.  “That impassioned me because after seeing those animals, it made me so happy.  These beings are here for a reason, and we have to take care of them.”

Burgos was already taking classes for his senior year of high school when Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit.  Burgos said his school was shut down.  They had no idea when it would reopen.  That’s when his aunt stepped in.  She purchased plane tickets for Burgos, his brother, and grandfather.  She lives in the Alabama, and wanted to give Burgos a chance to enroll and finish his senior year of high school.

“She told the news to my parents and they were in shock,” Burgos explained.  He enrolled at Mountain Brook High School in October.  Initially, Burgos was nervous about meeting new friends and being in a strange place without the support system of his parents.  However, before long he met two girls–Mary Pennington and Gabrielle May who became close friends.

Over the course of the school year, Burgos would attend prom, be accepted into college, and would graduate.  His parents were able to watch him walk across the stage on May 24th.

Burgos was accepted to a college in Mississippi, where he desperately wants to study to become a veterinarian–but financially, it just didn’t seem possible–especially following all of the damage in Puerto Rico.

Burgos returned to Puerto Rico, but he found out that his friends in Alabama hadn’t forgotten about him.  “They told me they were doing a fundraiser for me,” he said.  “I was in shock.  I never thought that this would happen.”  He is also working on getting a job in Puerto Rico so that he can spend a year saving money in hopes of returning to the US and making his dream come true.