Helicopter Crash Victim Assembly

Start Date: 01/30/2020


HOPE was invited to attend a memorial service for one of the Kobe Bryant crash victims, and 8th grade student , Alyssa, at Ensign middle school.
The school population is roughly 1200 with an 8th grade population of 600. In addition to the 8th grade class attending, many of the club team members and associates attended. The memorial service was held in the gym and many students, friends, her coach, and the basketball team spoke. It was a highly charged emotional event with lots of hugs and tears. By luck, Fargo and I ended up sitting right in the middle of the girls basketball team during the service. Several of the girls sobbed uncontrollably, reaching out to hold Fargo and bury their face in his fur. After the service, we were asked to stay to visit with the guests from the club team as well as the school team. Many of the adults were having a difficult time dealing with the loss of such a young person. Many of Alyssa's teammates went to each of the dogs multiple times for comfort. After staying behind with the guests and team, we were asked to go to the different rooms where counselors were stationed. Muffin and Robbie were a big hit, as students got down on the floor and lay next to them. The two smaller dogs, Fargo and Mariah, were each at a group table where they could be passed around and held by different individuals.
When we entered the rooms, there was a definite sense of grief filling the room, but by the time we said goodbye to the students, we saw many smiles and received many thanks from the students and staff.

Agency: Newport Mesa Unified School District, Ensign Middle School

LaWana Heald & Robbie, Jan Aven and Muffin, Kathi Lowmiller and Mariah