Shooting Survivor's Commencement Speech Inspires SU Graduates - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Shooting Survivor's Commencement Speech Inspires SU Graduates

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SALISBURY, MD. -- Students who graduated from a Wicomico County university Saturday morning listened to a commencement speech given by a fellow classmate who was shot and critically wounded by her jilted ex-boyfriend last year.

Kristen Loetz spoke about her year-long journey recovering from the Sept. 4, 2013 shooting that killed her boyfriend, overcoming obstacles she's never before faced but said has made her stronger in the end.

Some students who attended the SU commencement said Loetz's speech was inspiring but simply her presence at the ceremony one year later was moving enough.

"I think it's very inspirational as well as empowering,” said Alana Lawson, a junior at the university.

“To have such a tragic incident happen and still be able to finish out just lets people know that nothing can stop you short of achieving your dreams," said Lawson.

New SU alumna Jennifer Lynn Periseau clothed in the traditional black graduation regalia, was holding her infant son beside her family outside as she recalled how supportive people have been throughout Loetz's recovery.

"I think it's a great inspiration just how she overcame and just how the community pulled together for her," said Periseau.

After a long of road of surgeries, physical therapy and coping with the aftermath, Loetz's told students during the speech she's looking forward to pursuing a career in nursing after overcoming her anxiety of being hospitals since the shooting.

One of Loetz's Phi Mu sorority sisters said she has witnessed Loetz's academic progress.

"I'm proud of her and she's come a long way,” said Sasha Dulyachinda. “She's done so well in school and in the nursing program," she said.

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