It is graduation season, and thousands of students across Green Country are getting their high school diplomas or college degrees. It's always a special moment, but it's even more meaningful for one student from Bristow and his family. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports the new grad overcame a huge obstacle; one that nearly killed him.
Families are packed into the auditorium seats for commencement, searching for their loved ones. Anxious to hear their name called. They are ready to celebrate their achievement and future.
But, for one family, they thought this moment would never come.
"We never did think that he would live past three days when he was shot," said Goldie Stice Hobson, graduate's mother.
It was 1989; Goldie Stice-Hobson's 17-year-old son had dropped out of high school, and sometimes ran with the wrong crowd. An argument between two people he knew ended with a shot from an AK-47 rifle. The bullet hit Chris Stice in the side of the head.
"I'm lucky to even be alive. Every day is a blessing to me," said Chris Stice.
Stice not only survived, he thrived despite brain injuries that led to the paralysis of his arms and legs.
"There's more to life than just being able to walk around and use your arms and legs," said Chris Stice.
So, Stice used his brain and determination and concentrated on what he could do rather than what he couldn't. That led to this moment. His big night.
After three years of hard work and study, Stice earned a Master's Degree in Counseling and is going through OSU-Tulsa's commencement ceremony.
"The Lord had done wonderful things for us. Without Him, we couldn't have done it," said Goldie Stice.
His family says Stice is proof lives can be turned around, and through dedication and perseverance, adversity can be overcome.
"I can say oh pity me and I can mope around the house and stay in bed until noon, but I choose not to have that. There's a better. There's a higher calling I feel like," said Chris Stice.
Part of that calling is helping others. To encourage, and instill hope that tragedy can turn to triumph.
Stice has already done some mentoring of kids with troubled pasts. Now with his Master's in Counseling, he hopes to go to work for an agency that helps others with disabilities, possibly the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.