AMALGA — Not even a pandemic could stop Deserae Turner from receiving her diploma.
The high school senior graduated from Green Canyon High School Wednesday. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Turner was not able to receive her diploma in person. Instead her family hosted a drive-by celebration in her front yard.
“It has been amazing seeing everyone come and support me,” she said.
Dozens of friends, family and even complete strangers drove by her home to congratulate her on an achievement that almost didn’t happen.
“There were times I wanted to give up, but I just kept pushing,” Turner said. “And now I’m here.”
In February 2017, Deserae was shot by two classmates who lured her into a canal. Since then she’s had 17 procedures, lost vision in her left eye and continues to go through physical therapy. Even though her journey has not been an easy one, her mother said she never let it get in the way of her school work.
“I wanted her to forget school and just concentrate on healing, but she wanted to be in school and she wanted to graduate,” April Turner said. “She wanted the regular diploma, and she wanted to do it on time and with her class.”
There were times I wanted to give up, but I just kept pushing. And now I’m here.
Among the crowd who came to celebrate her graduation was close family friend Sue Hintze, who found Deserae Turner with a gunshot wound the day she was injured.
“We went out looking and just happened upon her,” Hintze said. “It was a true miracle!”
Deserae Turner said she plans to take a year off to focus of physically healing. She said she was looking to serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the near future.