From drug addict to scholar
Warren Magobet sits in a chair, staring at the floor. His hands are shaking. The scene, in many ways, is symbolic of a life full of shaky moments.
Magobet, 54, has lived life surrounded by drugs, abuse, and homelessness. By the time he was 17-years-old Magobet had taking a likening to drugs. He was addicted to them for 35 years. Just 14 months ago, he was a drug addict.
But this fall Magobet decided to make a change for the better. He enrolled at MDC’s North Campus. In November he was awarded the 2009 First-Year Academic and College Life Experience (F.A.C.E) scholarship, a program for first-time-in-college students.
To be eligible for the scholarship, Magobet attended a series of F.A.C.E programs and activities, and wrote an essay; the topic this year was the importance of managing your money and establishing a personal monthly budget.
He will receive $1,000 to help offset his spring term tuition.
“The best thing you can do is stay in school,” said Magobet, who is studying drug and alcohol counseling. “That’s what they told me, I didn’t listen. But there’s nowhere else to go.”
As a child, Magobet didn’t know where to turn. Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he grew up in foster care in Atlantic City, New Jersey with his brother, Francis Peter Magobet Dade, 55, and sister, Linda McClendon, 53.
“I was homeless, penniless, helpless,” he said. “A Marine walked up to me and said ‘I know a place where they feed you and you have to pay no rent or nothing.’”
So, Magobet joined the Marines and served for three years at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. While there, he obtained his GED.
“It was like a vacation to me,” Magobet said.
After the Marines, Magobet moved to Atlantic City, and worked the casinos for 13 years. But even while working as a card dealer and surveillance personnel, he was homeless.
“I had a casino license; it was gold. I can always get a job,” he said. “I remained homeless because all my money went into drugs and alcohol, clubs, bars, tricks.”
Today, Magobet attends 12 step meetings at least four times a week for co-dependency, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Drug Addicts Anonymous. The meetings, Magobet said, help him make better decisions and teach him how to deal with his feelings; he plans to continue them for the rest of his life.
The 12 step meetings have helped Magobet deal with some personal issues.
“I was raped one time; I had to tell that to my counselor. I know I’m not the only one. I got through it by working on myself, by writing on it,” Magobet said. “I made amends to myself. I forgave myself, God forgave me, and I forgave him.”
Now, he is dealing with starting life anew.
“When I graduated from the Phoenix Clinic, I knew I was going to start college,” he said. “I was going to walk through my fears. My brother inspired and motivated me.”
Magobet’s brother, Francis Peter Magobet Dade, recently graduated with an associate degree and is continuing his education.
And now, Magobet is following in his footsteps.
Sandra Martinez, director of advisement and career services at the North Campus, who reviewed Magobet’s application for the F.A.C.E scholarship said she came away impressed.
“He never gave up on his academic dream, in spite of having to start and stop his formal education a few times because of personal barriers,” Martinez said. “He embodies the meaning of perseverance and resolve.”
Magobet said he is determined to remain focused.
“I live for the day. Who knows what I’ll be?” Magobet said. “I just want to help out others, but before I do that, I need to help myself.”