MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The students at Eneida Massas Hartner Elementary got a surprise visit on Wednesday from two talented circus performers.
Johnathan Lee Iverson and his sidekick, little person Paulo Dos Santo a stepped out of the ring to teach fifth graders a valuable lesson in life.
Johnathan and Paulo shared their own experiences with being bullied and tips to help students learn to combat it.
“We want to stand before them, show them this doesn’t happen overnight. We went through their challenges. We were bullied. It’s a journey. The world is round and you can come out on the better side,” said Johnathan Lee Iverson the Ringmaster of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Paulo who has been with the circus for seven years and wears many hats in the show from ice skating to flying on the trapeze shared his story with the students of when he was growing up and being bullied because he was different.
“When I walked into the school in Brazil, everyone started laughing at me and talking,” Paulo Dos Santos told the group of students.
“We are all the same. We all have the same heart,” he later said.
According to studies, school-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25 percent and Ringling Bros. hopes to be a part of the solution. The event is part of an effort to support the school’s “Caught Doing Good” program.
Along with the visit from the performers, 100 tickets to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey’s ‘Out Of This World’ were given out. The show runs until January 15th at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami.