Eighth grader crosses the stage three years after she was shot

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 21:56:20-04

Almost three years after she was shot, a Milwaukee teen graduated 8th grade Friday.

It's been a long road of healing and studying for Makayla Criss since the 2014 shooting.

On June 15, 2014, Criss was shot in the leg during an armed robbery while going to the store to get some candy. She has grown so much from the traumatic situation before graduating from Webster Secondary School.
"I'm thankful for everything I've got going. It feels awesome," Criss said.

Criss' testimony and story can help so many others.

"I wouldn't even be here right now. If I didn't survive it would've been hard for my family," she said.

But she beat the odds of Milwaukee’s gun violence that has claimed so many lives. Criss' mother Tamika Gatson was all smiles Friday.

"I'm just one proud parent, one proud parent; I couldn't wait for this day to happen. She's a very ambitious kid. So she has a willingness to learn and to move forward," Gatson said.

Making a difference for her future, showing others you can do whatever you put your mind too, Criss has a message quite simple for any other victims just like her.

"You'll be OK," Criss said.

Criss will turn 14 on Sunday and her mom says she's currently looking for a summer job. Criss will either be going to Rufus King or Bradley Tech High School in the fall. She says she wants to become a pediatrician and a chef someday.