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Students support classmate hit in drive-by

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NASHVILLE — Classmates are helping to raise money and offering support for a young girl paralyzed in a drive-by shooting last month.

Miasia Iana Perry stood on a hoverboard in her living room in a house on Old White Oak Road when bullets ripped through her upper body. That was Sept. 5. She’s now paralyzed from the waist down.

Jhosmin Sandoval, 23, of Green Road outside Spring Hope, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling and attempting to destroy evidence. He’s accused of firing into Miasia’s home trying hit a person authorities haven’t identified.

Miasia’s grandmother Dorothy Murphy Stallings said Miasia is ready to go back to school.

“She is recovering amazingly and it is in part to her teachers, principal, classmates and students of Nashville Elementary School,” Stallings said.

Students are excited about Miasia coming back to school, said Lauren Pike, Miasia’s second grade teacher.

Students at Nashville Elementary School have raised more than $1,300 for Miasia.

School staff carpooled to visit Miasia in the hospital. They brought toys, balloons, cards and stuffed animals from fellow teachers and students. School staff contributed gas cards and money to help the family with travel and food expenses, according to a statement released by Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

School officials distributed #HopeforMiasia wristbands that are lime green to symbolize spinal cord injury and orange to symbolize victims of gun violence.

Nashville Elementary School Principal Quinton Mangano said students are coping with the tragedy well.

“When it first happened, we did not share specific information, just shared the message that she was hurt and needing our support to get better,” Mangano said. “I have given them updates that she is getting better, but we do not get into details about what actually happened. At this point, the incident is more widely known, however, we are not having discussions about how or why — just about the way she is responding to her own situation.”

Mangano said Miasia is staying positive and working hard to learn how to get around in a wheelchair.

“I had begun this year sharing with staff and students the concept of the formula E+R=O, which is event plus response equals outcome,” Mangano said. “Basically, how we respond to events dictates the outcome and we are personally responsible for that response.”

Miasia is showing just how powerful the formula can be.

“When such a tragic event occurred in her life and the response she and her family is exhibiting has been remarkable,” Mangano said. “While we don’t know the long term outcome for her yet, we do know her immediate outcome is great progress. She is working hard to learn how to get herself back to school and doing it with a can-do attitude. We should all be so fortunate to have the strength and courage she and her family are showing. We are inspired by Miasia.”

Stallings said words can’t express her gratitude to Mangano, more than 40 teachers and staff members and more than 700 students.

“The strength and perseverance of Miasia, coupled with the support of the school, classmates, teachers and the community has been incredible,” Stallings said. “Principal Mangano has been fantastic in all of this, and his acts of kindness cannot go unnoticed.”

For updates on Miasia’s condition and community support efforts, visit the Facebook page “#HopeForMiasia” at www.facebook.com/hopeformiasia/.