Freddie Sherrill’s life will surely be made into a movie one day. The 65-year-old spent most of his life unable to read.
As a teen, he grew up without a father and turned to petty crime – by the age of 16, Freddie was in prison.
But after homelessness, drugs and a suicide attempt; Freddie earned his bachelor’s degree from Charlotte’s Queens University this year.
He Quit School At Age Eight
At just eight-years-old Freddie was let down by the education system and dropped out.
By 16, he was behind bars and then homeless at age 27, North Carolina’s WBTV reports.
But with determination and faith, he completed his G.E.D., which he passed by a point on his sixth try.
He then went on to earn his associates degree, which took him 13 years — to set an example for his children.
“Finally, today I can say that I’m a productive member of society,” Sherrill told the station. “I haven’t arrived, you know. That’s just part of the journey, and the journey continues on.”
He Tried To Commit Suicide
For two decades, Sherrill battled drug and alcohol abuse.
His depression sank so low he tried shooting himself in December of 1988.
Thankfully the gun didn’t go off and he threw it on the ground. “I wanted to die and couldn’t even do that,” he told the Observer.
After staying at a halfway house in Morganton, North Carolina, Sherrill began doing yard work for a couple.
It was them who introduced him to their pastor, Steve Eason, formerly of the town’s First Presbyterian Church.
The pastor took a chance on Sherrill and hired him to work as a groundskeeper. It inspired him to visit a literacy center to learn how to read.
He Inspired His Son To Achieve
Ultimately, Sherrill wanted a better life for his wife and five children. He encouraged his son to enrol at Queens University and made a bet with him.
The father would enrol too, and whoever got the best GPA each semester would pay the other $100.
That was eight years ago, the Post reported.
And in May, three years after his son finished his degree, Sherrill received his in human service studies.
Now the inspirational man hopes to find a position working with children who are at risk, like he once was, he told the newspaper.