MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat held a back-to-school event at Ruth K. Broad K-8, a Surfside school on Thursday morning to the delight of 900 students.
There were highlighters, notebooks, backpacks, and of course, Miami Heat mascot Burnie.READ MORE: FHP Searching For Men Accused Of Carjacking Good Samaritans
“They’re doing defensive slides, and doing the ladder, some activity. And we’re handing out school supplies too,” said Miami Heat player, Omer Yurtseven.
The event with the Heat, Florida Blue, and Papa Johns was about more than just getting some school supplies and exercise. It was a moment of levity for the kids, including some who are still processing and dealing with the tragedy in Surfside.
“Of course, we had students directly affected by the building collapse,” said Scott Saperstein, the principal at Ruth K. Broad. “Some lost their lives and others were displaced. So, a lot of challenges for a lot of families.”
Ruth K. Broad in Bay Harbour Islands is less than 10 minutes away from where the Champlain Towers South once stood.
Saperstein said four students at his school died in the collapse. The youngest student was about to start Pre-K, he shared with CBS4 reporter Brooke Shafer.READ MORE: US Dept. Of Health: Number Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations In Florida Continue To Decline
Seventh grader Sophia Lambreu said she knew Lucia Guerra. The 10-year-old was one of the first kids identified in the condo collapse. Guerra died along with her sister and parents.
“And at this point, we just have to like pray that they made it to heaven and hope that they’re good,” said Lambreau.
Students at the school have received help since the tragedy.
Saperstein said Miami-Dade County Public School’s Crisis Team came in along with the mental health department. He added there were group and individual counseling sessions for students who needed it.
“I have two children of my own and I can’t imagine the grief that they’re feeling,” Saperstein said. “And we just have to rally around them as much as we can and provide them a lot of love.”MORE NEWS: Florida Joins Fight Against Partnership Between American Airlines & JetBlue
“Today is about standing united, and letting our kids know that they are safe, they are comforted, that they are loved. And nothing like Bernie to set the mood for that,” said MDCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.