By Jim Berry


MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami Norland High school graduate Heaven Lewis received her diploma and her cap and gown, but there’s one thing she and other 2020 graduates did not get. The pomp and circumstance of a proper high school graduation.

“2019 classes got to walk across the stage, and get their proper exit from childhood to adulthood and we did not,” Lewis laments.

Miami Dolphin receiver Allen Hurns knew that a lot of kids were bummed out about not receiving a proper graduation ceremony so No. 17 stepped in to give high school seniors care packages.

They are chock full of goodies for when they go off to college.

Lewis was elated when her surprise package arrived at her Miami Gardens home. Among the items it contained were a comforter, a book bag, and plenty of school supplies.

Using his charitable foundation, 88 Blessings, Hurns and his mother Erica Wilson created the S.O.A.R. Movement, which stands for Seniors Overcoming Adversity to be Resilient.

In a Zoom interview, Hurns told CBS4 Sports anchor Jim Berry that he wanted to send this year’s graduates an important message.

“Some things unexpected happen, and it’s unfortunate,” said Hurns, a Miami-Dade native who graduated from Carol City High school. “But at the end of the day, you got to look at the light in it.”

Hurns’ Mom, Erica Wilson presided over a virtual awards ceremony to announce their first S.O.A.R. winners.

Heaven Lewis was elated when she heard her name called.

“It’s awesome and really nice. These people don’t even know us and they want to do something nice for us. It’s great.”

Hurns says his S.O.A.R. movement intends to mentor these students all the way through college, and offer the kind of advice he has gleaned from his seven year NFL career after graduating from the University of Miami.

Right now, he just wants the students to look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Know that it’s a blessing and you’re still able to go to college, so it’s still a blessing at the end of the day,” Hurns is reminding them.

Heaven Lewis is bound for Albany State University in Georgia.

To this graduating senior named Heaven, a surprise gift from a Miami Dolphin player feels like a heavenly boost at just the right time.

“It’s overwhelming that this is being done for me and others who have had a traditional graduation taken away. I’m very thankful to Allen Hurns and his Mom, and I cannot wait to ‘SOAR’ with you guys.”

Jim Berry

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