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Teen survivor left partially paralyzed in Ponte Vedra stabbing attack walks across stage at graduation
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Teen survivor left partially paralyzed in Ponte Vedra stabbing attack walks across stage at graduation

  • PublishedMay 18, 2024

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local teenager who was left partially paralyzed by an attempted murder-suicide stabbing attack outside a Ponte Vedra restaurant last June walked across the stage Friday to receive her high school diploma.

Schemitz never wavered in her belief that she would walk again, despite being left with two collapsed lungs and a spinal cord injury from the domestic violence attack.

Schemitz said she is eternally grateful to those who helped her get to this point in her recovery.

On Thursday afternoon at HCA Florida Memorial Hospital, Schemitz stood at a podium and was met with enthusiastic applause. That was a significant step for her as she is still recovering after being stabbed 17 times in June 2023.

“When I was at my lowest you, all were there,” Schemitz told hospital staff and first responders on Thursday. “Providing comfort and support and expertise that ultimately saved my life. Your dedication, professionalism, and unwavering commitment to your work are nothing short of remarkable.”

Schemitz personally thanked hospital staff and first responders during the event to commemorate National Trauma Survivors Day, which was on Wednesday.

MORE: ‘No one can break my girl’: Mother shares update of teen girl stabbed 15 times at Ponte Vedra Beach restaurant

Schemitz is graduating Friday from Ponta Vedra High School at 6 p.m. Friday at the UNF Arena — and is set to walk across the stage to get her diploma.

“A respiratory therapist shared this very quote with me,” she said. “He reminded me that when you’re going through hell, nobody ever wants to stay there. So, keep going. Every day, this quote has served as a reminder to persevere, even in the face of adversity and to push through it with the belief that there is an end to the struggle.”

Police said Schemitz was stabbed in a brutal attack outside Mr. Chubby’s Wings by Spencer Pearson, her ex-boyfriend. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said the murder-suicide attempt was captured by surveillance cameras.

RELATED: Surveillance video shows moments leading to brutal Ponte Vedra Beach stabbing that left teen paralyzed

Schemitz’s mother was also seriously hurt and another person who helped stop the attack was injured.

She said she cannot say thank you enough to the people who helped her survive and get her to where she is now.

“You all not only kept me alive, but you kept my mom alive, which in the end kept my family alive and whole,” Schemitz said. “You all not only healed my physical wounds but have also helped me navigate the emotional and psychological aftermath of this trauma. Your care extended far beyond the boundaries of your job descriptions.”

RELATED: St. Johns County teen stabbed multiple times raises awareness about domestic abuse at back-to-school event

Schemitz and her family have turned their trauma into a path to help others by partnering with the national nonprofit One Love, which aims to end relationship abuse by empowering young people with the tools and resources they need to spot the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

The organization is named for University of Virginia student Yeardley Love, who was beaten to death by her ex-boyrfriend just two weeks before her graduation from the University of Virginia in 2010.

If you want to learn more about One Love Foundation visit

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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