Eighth and ninth graders gather for their year-end Reading Renaissance Celebration, with truly something to celebrate.
"A lot of students had a lot if issues dealing with coming to school from a tent, or from a porch," says math teacher Danielle Acevedo. "So there were a lot of emotional issues in addition to having to get back on track with thinking."
Katrina taught them all new lessons about defining a school year.
"Yeah, it's been really frustrating," says one
"It's crazy," says another.
Some who made it through are now saying good-bye.
"It's hard," says 8th grader Nikki Graham. "We had a lot of stuff going on. Me and my best friend are moving next week."
But all paused on this happy day, to say good-bye to classmate Brandon Spears, who died in an auto accident in December.
"He just had a beautiful spirit," says Brandon's mother Lisa Jackson. "He was 14-years-old."
Lisa, and other members of the family sat on a park bench dedicated in Brandon's name by the Student Council, and received a year book dedicated in his memory.
"It was a surprise," says Jackson. "They called me and asked me to come to an awards ceremony but I didn't know what it involved."
The bench served as the best seat in the house for the faculty verses students basketball game and pizza party that followed. Just the kind of fun and friendly farewell that Lisa says Brandon would have loved.
"They say that Brandon always made them have a better day," says Jackson. "If you knew him. If you loved him like you say you do then you know what he was about and I want you to let that live on in you and that would make him very happy."