St. Pete College Graduation to Feature Student Who Survived Brutal Attack
The 21-year-old college senior suffered stab wounds to her head, neck and face in January. She survived and will graduate with fellow classmates from St. Petersburg College.
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When Melissa Dohme stands before her fellow St. Petersburg College graduates on Dec. 15 and talks about perseverance and determination, she won’t just be uttering the usual ceremonial ideals.
She will stand as a living example.
Dohme , 21, suffered 18 deep stab wounds to her head, neck and face in January. Her ex-boyfriend has been charged with the attack. Within days of her release from the hospital in February, she was back in class, determined not to let the attack keep her from her goals.
“My therapist told me to be prepared not to make the grades that I was making,” Dohme said. “I was determined more than ever to prove my therapist wrong and to not let him (her attacker) win.”
She will graduate in the morning ceremony with high honors, including A’s in the two courses she took during her initial recovery, and will earn an Associate in Arts degree.
She met with her instructors three days after her release from Bayfront Medical Center. They advised her to drop two of her four classes and concentrate on catching up in her Sociology and Humanities courses.
Her drive earned the respect of those on the Clearwater Campus, who voted her the Dr. Theodore Mazzu Student of the Year in May. Dohme plans to become a nurse practitioner and will begin classes at St. Petersburg College in the fall in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. She is delaying her enrollment until August because the trial of her ex-boyfriend is scheduled for March.
“I feel that I’m a year behind where I wanted to be academically and that bothered me for a while,” she said, “but I have let that go and am now just thankful for where I am.”
Ceremonies are Dec. 15 at the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo. The first begins at 9:30 a.m. (when Melissa will speak), the second at 1 p.m.