AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - College graduation is a time for celebration and is an important stepping stone as graduates begin a new phase in life.
As we see in this week’s “Good News With Doppler Dave” that experience is even more special for someone about to walk the stage this weekend.
Like the rest of his graduating class at West Texas A&M University this semester, Wayne Osteen will walk the stage and will receive his degree this Saturday.
However, unlike most of his class, which is dominated by young college aged graduates just now embarking on a career and adulthood, Wayne is 67 years old.
It was almost 50 years ago that Wayne almost graduated from college but said some things happened in his life and he ended up falling short.
"The last semester, I was nine hours away from receiving a Bachelors Science Degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina,” said Wayne.
Because of some very wrong choices, Wayne said his plans were derailed, his life sent spiraling downward, and eventually landing him in prison.
“Drugs and alcohol. There is an old saying that I got stuck on stupid. I thought I was going to graduate, but I didn’t graduate, but at that time I was so involved into drug world, that I saw more of a financial advantage for me to pursue drugs. That’s called getting stuck on stupid. Spiral down very quickly drugs, alcohol, DUI’s, jail, prison, hospitals, and recovery centers.”
With a decision to seek recovery and a pull-yourself-up-by-your-boot-straps mentality, Wayne put his life together.
“January 31 of 1999, in Columbia in South Carolina. After living on the street carrying a grocery bag, I got on my knees in a hotel room and I said, ‘God, if you don’t do something, I am going to die. You gotta save my life.’ I stood up that day and I have stayed sober and clean ever since. I said, ‘Okay God, let’s get this stuff back that I lost through drugs and alcohol. I would like to replace the things I lost and one of them is my college degree,'” said Wayne.
Wayne hopes that his recovery, his new life, and his accomplishments will now inspire others.
“If you are out there in world that I was in, don’t be afraid to try to change. You may fall and fall short, but just get back up and try again. We will welcome you back each and every time.”
Graduation from college usually marks a time that lives are launched and careers are started. But, as we see in Wayne’s story, lives can be brought back together and new lives are launched at any stage of life; even 67 years old. Now that’s some good news!