Sun | Aug 1, 2021

Girl's dreams shattered by bullet, school salutes her

Published:Monday | July 2, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Tears flowed uncontrollably at what was supposed to be the joyful celebration for students of the Holy Family Primary School. There was a moment of silence as the graduating class and supporters welcomed Ashley Anderson to the graduation ceremony.

Anderson, who was a promising student, dropped out of school four years after she was shot and critically injured by gunmen. She has been left in a vegetative state since September 2008, when a bullet struck her in the head. There are reports that the bullet lodged in her skull and the fragments scattered in her brain.

She now represents another of Jamaica's many gems that have been robbed of an opportunity to realise their full potential.

Last Wednesday, Anderson was made an honorary graduate by principal Cecile Palmer, following the unfortunate circumstances that prevented her from finishing school.

In summer of 2008, Anderson and her best friend, Selina Collins, were making their way home when they got caught in a crossfire. She was shot and hospitalised for several months.

"We made Ashley (Anderson) an honorary graduate and commend her mother, who takes excellent care of her," said Palmer.

Though not fully responsive, Anderson's face lit up with a bright smile during segments of the graduation which took place at the St George's College auditorium.

WANTED TO BE A TEACHER

Gripped with emotion, her best friend, Selina, was too depressed to speak, but some of the other graduates remembered Anderson as a kind and loving person, whose dream was to become a teacher.

Guest speaker at the graduation, 18-year-old Ackeem Burgess, spoke passionately to the students, inspiring them to be the best they can be, aim to shine and hold true to themselves and their morals. He left the podium engaging with the students, letting them know of the struggles he faced in order to go to school and to achieve.

-Gleaner Interns Kamala Copeland and Stefan Reid