Former Addict Who Spent Half His Adult Life In Prison Graduates With Honors

California State University in Long Beach is known for their iconic Walter Pyramid, their talented women's basketball team, and most recently, for awarding a former prison inmate his university degree with honors.

This inspiring story proves that redemption and second chances are not only possible, but they can also change the entire course of someone's life. This is truly a story of hope.

Joseph Valadez spent half of his adult life in prison.

At only 11-years-old, Valdez began his struggle with drug addiction, which quickly led him down the path to gang violence and homelessness.

As ABC 7 reported, he eventually found himself in jail for 30 years.

He decided to transform his life.

At 50-years-old, Valdez found himself deteriorating when a sudden shift took place that changed everything. He decided to get clean.

He was able to get accepted into CSULB and spent the next six years pursuing his BA.

He graduated with honors.

Defying all odds, Valdez not only received his undergraduate degree in 2021, but he also graduated with a 3.67 GPA and landed on both the Dean's List and the "President's Honor List."

Largely inspired by his late mother, Valdez wanted to honor her love and faith in him, even if she sadly was unable to see him graduate.

Valadez proves that opportunities are there for those willing to fight for them.

At the age of 63, Valdez graduated and now awaits an admissions decision from CSULB's MA program. He proves that it's never too late to start a new and brighter chapter in our lives. In an inspiring Facebook post he wrote, "if I can do it, anyone can."

Let us know what you think of this powerful story in the comments and if you feel encouraged by Valdez's story.

h/t: ABC 7