By Karli Barnett

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – You know it is a great day at school when you get to have a pizza party and bring home a new toy. That was the case for students at Riverside Elementary who enjoyed plenty of holiday cheer Friday thanks to some friends of the Miami Heat.

The man that makes this Christmas tradition possible is Larry Share.

He is a big HEAT fan and brought almost 400 gifts to give out to students.

“It’s great. Every kid that comes up and hugs me, I say ‘Merry Christmas’ to them. A lot of these kids, this is the only present they’re going to get.”

This is his 13th year working with the Miami HEAT, surprising students with a pizza party and plenty of brand new toys and games.

“I feel like he did more than we expected,” says Blanca Davila, a 5th grader.

Her classmate, Jeffry Hernandez, says he was overwhelmed to see the table full of gifts.

“Like, what should I pick? Which choice should I make?”

He ultimately opted for the fan favorite, a basketball, of course.

Riverside Elementary is one of three schools with the Miami Heat Academy, along with Paul Laurence Dunbar K-8 Center and Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Elementary.

The Miami HEAT Academy is an after-school program that helps with reading, writing, and math.

This was a big day for some teachers, as well. Fifth grade teacher Karina Cabrera, went through the Miami HEAT Academy herself, and says it warms her heart to see it all come full circle.

“To see the kids exactly where I was, in the same room as I was in fifth grade. I hope I can do the same for them and encourage them through my story,” she says.

It was an act of kindness that brought some big smiles and got these students in the Christmas spirit.

“He is very nice to bring presents for all of us,” says student Anthony Ringstaff.  “I think all of us are thankful for that.”

Karli Barnett


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