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.”
space Metro State Grad Overcame Tremendous Obstacles

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.

Comments (7)
  1. Angie Punt says:

    Congrats Sarah!!

  2. Dave says:

    I am so proud of love dad

  3. Terri Masterson says:

    Words cannot expres how proud I am of My Preciouss Baby Girl!!! There’s no stopping you now, and as you “walk on the sidewalk” remember it’s ok to hold hands when you need to. I love you so much and am SO PROUD of you.
    Love, Mom

  4. Becky Lee says:

    I am so proud of you for reaching you goal with honors.Blessing s always as you continue through your life helping others as you do it so well. You are a wonderful , delightful, ensightful, humerous young lady and I give you all my love and wish you the best in your future. Congradulations!!!!

  5. Sandra Mendoza says:

    You are obviously a special person capable of achieving anything you choose. We are proud of you and wish you continued success. Thank you for becoming an inspiration for others and showing everyone that they have choices. You really are exceptional.

  6. George Alexander says:

    Absolutely fantastic Sarah. God has been gracious to you.

  7. LaFern Cusack says:

    You always carry the strength you need. Congratulations on your honors and rising to the top of who you came hear to be…beautiful, talented and sharing your life with others. Never give up!

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