Student set to graduate after near-death hit

Sylvia Bogusz. (Photo by Andrew Adamson, WPRI-TV)

KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Around the time she graduated from high school, Sylvia Bogusz came close to death. Now, she’s set to graduate from college, and is being celebrated for her perseverence.

In June 2007, Sylvia had gotten a flat tire and was waiting by the side of Route 1 for her mother to pick her up. A drunk driver slammed into Sylvia at great speed, throwing her 125 feet into the road. She had a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures.

“When I was transported to South County and Rhode Island Hospitals, the doctors thought I had no hope for survival,” she says today.

“I’m a fighter! I don’t know how I persevered!”

She didn’t just survive; she thrived. She was undergoing physical therapy and speech therapy while taking classes at the University of Rhode Island. Now, on May 18 — six years after the accident — she’ll graduate with a 3.4 GPA, and a degree in both Communication Studies and Italian.

Sylvia says she got a lot of support from her family, and it helped keep her going.

Fellow interns in the URI Communications department, and her boss, say they take a lot of inspiration from her.

“Every single day I see her improving more and more. It’s really touching to watch,” says fellow intern Sabrina Galiney.

Assistant director of communications Dave Lavallee sings her praises: “An impressive, fun, hard-working young woman.”

And with such a good start, Sylvia plans to pursue a job in public relations after she graduates.

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