When Shelly Burgado woke up in a hospital bed at Savannah's Memorial University Medical Center, she couldn't talk, walk or remember the boating accident on May River that nearly killed her.
For weeks, her grandparents, family and friends waited at her side, wondering if she would pull through. She had been thrown from a motorboat May 2, 2009, near Nanny Cove in Bluffton after the driver made a sharp turn to retrieve a fallen wake-boarder.
Burgado, now 24, was hit by the boat's propeller and suffered severe damage to her leg and face.
A year later, Burgado is taking up her life again where she left off.
She will participate in tonight's Technical College of the Lowcountry's graduation ceremony on Parris Island. She is registered for fall classes at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and plans to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. She still hopes to become a middle school English teacher, she said.