Commencement speaker graduating from LCC after 18 years

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      EUGENE, Ore. - Alan Overwater has been attending Lane Community College for 18 years.

      During that time, he's struggled with homelessness, mental health issues and learning disabilities.

      But his tenure at the school is coming to an end thanks to a supportive campus community and hard work.

      On Saturday, Overwater will get his associate's degree - and serve as the school's commencement speaker.

      "I just want to get into the community and help show everybody that it can be done and work with people that might not have an advantage," he said.

      Overwater has been taking classes at LCC since 1996, in a variety of fields.

      "I've had a lot of trials and they've kind of interfered with my goals," he said.

      Overwater is transferring to Oregon State University, where he will pursue a bachelor's degree.

      He hopes to eventually start a career in adaptive recreation.

      LCC hosts its 49th Annual Commencement on Saturday.

      Overwater will be one of the keynote speakers at the event.

      Commencement will also feature an address by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkey.

      It is taking place at 3 p.m. at the Lane County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.