DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Next week marks one year since a deadly shooting outside of East High School.

Police say 10 suspects in three vehicles opened fire last March, killing one person and injuring two others.

March 7, 2022, changed the lives of so many young people and families. Kemery Ortega survived after being shot in the head and reflects on what happened one year later.

“It did happen so fast,” Ortega said. “I mean, I just turned around and boom I was hit.”

It’s hard to believe Ortega is alive after what happened. 

“I remember everything,” Ortega said. “The scary parts of being blacked out and just hearing everybody yelling for help, calling my name, and asking if I was OK. And then just waking up, like passing out and then waking up when I was being put into the ambulance and yeah, it was all crazy.”

She is one of the teenagers who was shot outside of East High School and survived, proving her doctors wrong every step of the way.

“They’re surprised how fast I healed up because a lot of people take months to heal up from bullet injuries and all that,” Ortega said. “And they’re basically all saying that I’m a miracle.”

Her recovery was remarkable. In a matter of days, Ortega went from the intensive care unit to rehab at ChildServe in Johnston. Just three weeks after she was shot, she returned home walking and talking.

“I may be bald and may have a bullet in my head, but we’re doing great,” Ortega said, back on March 24, 2022.

Since then, her hair has grown back and the helmet is gone, but the bullet remains.

“Because if they were to remove it, they would it would have caused permanent brain damage and I would have lost pretty much all my movement,” Ortega explained.

Ortega is grateful for her progress, but she and others are forever impacted. Jessica Lopez was also injured in the shooting and Jose Lopez was killed.

“What I saw, what I heard, what I went through, my friend passing away and then the other girl being hurt too,” Ortega said, “yeah, it’s all just too much.”

Too much that keeps happening. In January, two other teens were shot and killed at educational non-profit Starts Right Here. Another act of violence that Ortega doesn’t seem to understand.

“How hasn’t any shooting been enough to stop any other shooting that has occurred?” Ortega asked. “Like why are there minors being able to get hold of guns? Why are there people able to sell to minors like that? And I don’t understand this stuff, but I guess it’s just the way the world works.”

Still, Ortega is hopeful for change. And even had the courage to provide hope to a tearful Kevin Martinez, a sixteen-year-old who was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for his role in the shooting.

“I believe you can come out of this and become a better man and better human in this world,” Ortega said at the November sentencing hearing.

As the other young men wait to learn their fate, Ortega is focused on her future. In August, she graduated from East High School.

“It felt, it felt nice to walk the stage and receive my diploma,” Ortega said. “I was just super happy and excited to finally able to have the graduating dream come true.”

And now she’s working part-time while living with her dad. She’s proud of how far she’s come.

“That’s where I am now today and then I don’t let 3-7 bother me and affect me as much,” Ortega said. “And yeah, I do get to think about it and it gets pretty bad, but I find my ways to escape from it.”

She allows her strength to keep pushing her forward. 

“Life just keeps on going so you can’t really let anything stop,” Ortega said. “You just have to keep going.”

The other survivor, Jessica Lopez, declined to speak with us. Ortega said they are both forever bonded by what happened on March 7, 2022.