A lot of people look back at their high school years with great fondness. This is the time of your life when you make lifelong friends, go to school dances, and prepare yourself for adulthood. However, it is not exactly a breeze for everyone. Bullying is a sad reality many kids face, many want to get high school over and done with to get a fresh start. Deserae Turner was the type of student who enjoyed high school and liked going to class every single day. She was on good terms with everyone in her class, so it came as a shock that something of this sort happened to her.
Deserae was a normal high school student. The 17-year-old girl prepared for the SATs and tried her best to get the best possible marks. She wanted to attend a top college, so she needed to get high marks to accomplish her dreams. Her group of friends had been supportive of her about this, and they often talked about what life would be like when they were done with high school. The world was their oyster!
It was a tight-knit community, and the entire town would come together to attend pep rallies during big sporting events. Team spirit was an integral part of the school. The mascot wandered all over the campus and took photos with everyone there.
A Small Town Girl
The school they went to is called Green Canyon High School, which is located in Utah. She spent four years there before she was set to go to college. She lived in the small town of North Logan, where nearly all the students knew each other one way or the other.
Growing up can be challenging for many children. It is important to have parents who will support you and give you a loving environment. Deserae was lucky enough to have parents who loved her a lot.
A Nice Place To Live
When she needed advice or a hug, her dad and mom would always be there. North Logan was a nice place to raise children in, so not once did anyone suspect that something this unfortunate would happen to a girl like Deserae.
She never imagined that her peers could act so cruelly. It was a good thing that her parents did not ever leave her side after the incident happened. She needed them now more than ever.
The Fateful Day
It started out like any other day. Deserae just got out of school and was on her way home. She spent a few hours studying with her friends and was walking home to get dinner with her family.
Shadows Behind Her
While walking, she soon spotted shadows right behind her. All of a sudden, they materialized into the form of two guys she knew from school. Jayzon Decker and Colter Peterson had been waiting for her all this time.
What They Were Capable Of
She had something that they wanted. No one had any idea that something like this would ever happen in a quiet town. Worse, they never thought these boys were capable of such cruelty.
An Easy Target
All of a sudden, the pair went up to Deserae. They wanted money and believed that she was going to be an easy target. Deserae had been walking on her own, and dusk was approaching at the time.
The moment they went after her, she tried her best to escape. However, they managed to catch up to her and pushed her onto the pavement. There was a brief battle, but Deserae could not get away.
Breaking The Silence
That’s when things got really heated. One of the boys took out a weapon, which made the encounter a lot nastier right away. In seconds there was a loud bang that broke the silence.
She Woke Up
Darkness soon turned into something that looked like a hospital room. Deserae was knocked out for a long time. She was, understandably, confused when she regained consciousness.
She Tried To Remember
Exactly what had happened to her? As she gazed down, she noticed tubes attached to her arms and an IV bag. She tried to remember what happened that day but could not recall what led to this hospital stay.
It must have been scary for her. She woke up in a hospital room but had no idea why. She tried to move her limbs and then called for assistance. It then dawned on her that she was suffering from paralysis.
Anything below her waist did not have any feeling. At that moment, a nurse entered the room and asked for the doctor. Deserae began crying as she was understandably scared and in panic mode.
They Shot Her
It turned out that the loud gunshot noise came from the gun the boys shot…at her. They shot her in the head, robbed her and planned to leave her for dead. What kind of humans would do such a horrific thing?
It was a good thing that a random good Samaritan saw her and contacted emergency services! However, this only happened eight hours after the incident. Would she make it through?
Her Chances Weren’t Good
Although it was a horrific act of violence and her chances were small, Deserae somehow pulled through. Not many people would have survived such an attack but Deserae is one strong girl and she made it.
It was almost a miracle that she even survived the attack. Of course, her parents were glad to hear that Deserae was still alive. However, it meant that they had to deal with a completely new set of problems.
She Began To Heal
Her body started to heal, and so did her brain. Still, she needed to undergo a number of physiotherapies if she wanted to regain control of her legs. She also had to see a speech therapist to learn how to talk again.
Colter And Jayzon
While she was in the hospital, the authorities started to look for the suspects involved in the shooting. Colter and Jayzon had a reputation at school for discussing firearms and planning to use them in a school shooting.
Lock Them Up
The attack on poor Deserae showed the cops that they had to be locked up to prevent any more untoward incidents. They were both apprehended as soon as the police obtained a warrant.
There was no way Colter and Jayzon could plead ‘not guilty’ because of Deserae’s testimony and CCTV footage. On the day of the trial, the two young men announced that they were pleading guilty.
15 Years To Life
Jayzon and Colter also needed to listen to Deserae as she gave her account of the incident on that terrible day. The judge ended up giving the two teens 15 years to life in prison for the assault on their schoolmate. Yes, the two young men would not be roaming freely soon.
A Traumatic Event
No doubt, it was a very traumatic event for Deserae. She was not simply going to let what happened to her define the rest of her life. She saw them in court and said that what they did to her was horrible.
She Didn’t Understand
For three years, she saw them in the hallways and even took classes with them. It was hard for her to understand what would possess anyone to do such a thing. We can understand why the young woman hated them.
To The Fullest
The good news was that she was alive and free. She plans to live her life to the fullest. She feels grateful that she made it through and hopes to somehow, someday put this all behind her.
Sadly, she suffered permanent brain damage from the gunshot wound. Many things had to change for Deserae, and she will forever have ongoing medical issues because of it. She had to have a lot of intense surgeries to improve her condition.
She Suffers Tremendously
The left side of her body has suffered a lot, and she gets debilitating migraines without any warning at all. However, she worked hard to have a normal life despite everything that has happened to her.
Upon learning about what happened, the people in town had some thoughts about the terrible incident. The entire community that life was going to be hard for Deserae. She dreamed of attending college in the fall, but now she had to put this plan on hold.
Local businesses teamed up to send the family various things that they could use for her recovery. One business even sent a bicycle in the hopes that it would give Deserae independence once she felt well enough to take it out for a ride. However, she needed something else aside from this.
In high school, prom and the homecoming dance are part of the rites of passage. These are two events in a teenager’s life that let them dress up in gorgeous dresses and dance the night away with their friends.
This is their chance to feel like princes and princesses for a night. Deserae wanted to have a Cinderella moment of her own and the chance to be a normal teenager again. She did not know if she would get the opportunity to do so now that she was suffering from limited mobility.
A lot of young girls dream about the day that their name would be called during the announcement of the Homecoming Queen. The student who gets crowned would stand up on stage, wear the crown, and wave at the rest of the student body.
It would be magical to experience this. Deserae also hoped that she could make this dream a reality, but it did not seem likely after what she went through. All she could do was dream…
Classmates And Friends
By then, the entire town had already heard of what happened to poor Deserae. Of course, her classmates also knew Colter and Jazyon, so the whole ordeal did not remain a secret. They wanted to do something nice for their classmate.
Her closest friends knew all about her dream to become the Homecoming Queen, so they planned to make her dream come true! They campaigned on behalf of her. Everyone in the school was happy to have Deserae become their Homecoming Queen.
When her name was announced on the football field, all of the people there started to cheer. She still required help with walking, and her dad came to her aid. Deserae placed her hand on his arm as he helped her walk over to the Homecoming King.
She Was So Happy
Without a doubt, she felt grateful for that moment. She wanted to let everyone in the school know this, so she chose to do something special for her supporters. She hoped that all girls would also get a Cinderella moment of their own since it made her so happy.
She had to give a speech in front of the other students and the parents. After taking a deep breath, she started to tell everyone how grateful she was. It must have been unnerving to do such a thing in front of an entire stadium, but public speaking was not a problem for her after everything she went through.
Across The Nation
There was another surprise lying in wait for her, however. Her story succeeded in touching the hearts of people across the state. Violence like this was not unheard of, but people were shocked that it was carried out by high school students.
Everyone wanted to hear about her story of survival and recovery. Deserae was happy to oblige this request and talked about her story with anyone who wanted to know more about it. She was a survivor and hoped that her words would inspire others who wanted to reclaim their lives after going through a traumatic event.
Deserae only had one more year before she could graduate, so she had a ton of school work to catch up on. It was fine, however, since she found a new calling in life. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The young woman is heavily involved in the community. She has realized that going to college this soon was not for her. Instead, she has her calling in the missions her church offers. What else is she doing today?
Deserae had always been interested in animals. There was a time when she was thinking of training to become a veterinarian, but this does not seem viable for her after the brain trauma that she suffered. It does not mean that she would never get to work with animals, however. The church mission still allowed her to work with animals, which is ideal. The only thing she needs to do now is to finish school.
Her life is only beginning. She is now doing her best to finish high school and plans to get more involved with the church after that. Her parents often see her studying and reading about different animals. We are very glad to hear that Deserae has stayed strong despite all the challenges that life has thrown at her. She might have had to relearn everything, but she did not let this stop her from meeting her goals!
Truly, it is inspiring to hear how someone so young managed to beat the odds. She survived a terrible incident and took her life back. We sure hope that she finds a mission that will let her fully recover from the incident and work with animals at the same time. Her story shows us that you can overcome any challenge as long as you stray strong and work hard. We can tell that she will get far in life!