DENVER (CBS4) – More than 1,600 graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver on Sunday. That’s the largest-ever spring class. One graduate overcame tremendous obstacles to get her degree.
The graduates waited in the rain and cold to get their diplomas. For Sarah Smith, it’s been life changing
“It’s a start of a new beginning; to put the all of past behind me,” Smith said.
Smith ran away from home when she was in eighth grade
“I just started doing drugs; I got very heavy into drugs right away,” she said.
She used meth, cocaine and alcohol daily for 17 years — at times selling drugs and turning to crime to support her habit.
“I didn’t think I would live this long.”
She hit rock bottom in 2003. One night she prayed for strength and guidance.
“For the first time in my life I knew that I wanted to be sober and that I had to work for it.”
Smith started her road to sobriety, and an education.
Smith graduated with honors, majoring in human services. She counsels others going down the same path she once was.
“She’s one of the best people I met on campus — a good leader,” fellow graduate Paul Valdez said.
Smith has been sober eight years and now has her degree and a lifetime career ahead of her.
“People can overcome anything and there are people like me that can help them do that,” she said.
Among the graduating class, 60 percent were women.