BOROUGH PARK— Jayden Grant, an 11-year-old boy who was recently hit by a stray bullet in Crown Heights, graduated from elementary school on Monday, at a bittersweet ceremony at the hospital where he’s recovering.
Joined by family, friends, teachers, neighbors, anti-gun violence advocates and city officials, Grant was presented a graduation plaque from New Bridges Elementary School and other gifts and honors at Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park.
The well-attended ceremony in a packed room of the hospital came two weeks after Grant was struck by a bullet in the chest, along with another bystander who was shot in the knee, in the vicinity of 243 Schenectady Avenue between St. Johns Place and Lincoln Place. Since the incident—which caused him to miss his 5th grade graduation ceremony—Grant has been paralyzed from the waist down, his grandmother says.
“In these last couple of weeks, Jayden has shown us determination in a whole new level, in a way that we wish that he never had to do, and he is a model for us of what it means to be strong and fearless, no matter what challenges are in his way,” said Kevyn Bowles, New Bridge’s principle. “It’s an honor to recognize and celebrate that level of determination today.”
Brooklyn North Assistant Chief Joseph Campbell said he was “humbled” by Grant’s “positivity and resilience.”
“Despite missing your special day,” he continued, “your head is held high by a mission and goal and I am grateful to be here to celebrate with you.”
“Jayden truly is Brooklyn’s champion,” said Reverend Kevin Jones, a representative of Save Our Streets, an anti-gun violence group that gave Grant a survivor’s award.
“You’re my champion,” said Shaniqua Pervis, another member of Save Our Streets.
“On behalf of the mayor, myself and the 8.4 million people in this city, I want you to know we have your back,” said NYC Community Affairs Commissioner Marco Carrion. “Whatever you need, we’re there for you.”
“We’re all rooting for you, we’re so happy to be here,” said Hydra Mendoza, Deputy Chancellor at the Department of Education.
In an interview, the 11-year-old shooting victim’s grandmother, Bessie Watson-Grant, said Jayden had been feeling better of late, has been in good spirits while spending time playing video games and speaking with family and friends.
“He’s okay, because he has a lot of family support,” she said. “He’s a great kid, and we’re praying for a miracle that he’ll get back on his feet. Everybody seems to be praying for him and we appreciate it. Continue to pray for him, because we believe in miracles.”