Student paralyzed in school shooting set to graduate from college

The story of Missy Jenkins' perseverance provided hope after the ugliness of the shooting at Heath High School in 1997 that left three dead in Paducah.

Jenkins, 22, is set to graduate Saturday from Murray State University with her positive attitude intact. She leaves with a degree in social work and a desire to work with teens to prevent bullying and eventually to help others with spinal cord injuries.

"Life is too short to be angry. I learned that," said Jenkins, who was hit in the left shoulder by a bullet that spiraled downward, damaging her spinal cord. The injury left her paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.

"I could've died that morning, so I wanted to finish out life being happy, not being angry. That doesn't solve anything."

During her time in college, she has given motivational speeches encouraging teenagers to come forward if they are being bullied or know of bullying. She says bullying led Michael Carneal, then 14, to open fire on her prayer circle group on Dec. 1, 1997.

"I wanted to work with kids like him, hoping to prevent what he did," Jenkins said. "It's better to be wrong, and then to be right and not say anything."

Jenkins said she has forgiven Carneal, who was sentenced in 1998 to life in prison without the chance of parole for 25 years.