TAMPA, Fla. — A survivor of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland will soon graduate from high school in Tampa Bay.
- Survivor of Parkland shooting to graduate high school soon
- She has since become an advocate for gun control
- She's soon heading to Hillsborough Community College to study criminal law
Susana Matta Valdivieso, 18, spent most of her senior year at Sickles High in Tampa. But it hasn't been easy.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't come to school thinking I could die today," Valdivieso said.
She's haunted by the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas every day. She was a student in Parkland on Valentine’s Day 2018.
"It was fourth period, and I was taking a math test, where there was a boom," Valdivieso said.
At first, she thought there was a fire at the school, then she heard more gunshots. Valdivieso and other classmates hid in a classroom.
"I feel terrible because as soon as I shut the door, you would just like watch the kids go past the door screaming, trying to get in. But once you close the door, you can't go open it back up," Valdivieso said.
Less than a year later, she left Parkland and started at Sickles High School.
"The first two weeks, I would not take my school ID off thinking if I have to die, they have to be able to know who I am," Valdivieso said. "It was hard getting used to the fact that people here don't have the fear of dying every single day."
With the help of the school's crisis counselor, Valdivieso was able to cope.
She's become an advocate for gun control.
"Her journey is amazing because she showed resilience that many adults could not quite attain," said Sickles High School Crisis Counselor Vito Ricciardi.
Valdivieso is leaving Sickles with straight A's and will head to Hillsborough Community College to study criminal law in the fall.