MIAMI - Burnie the dancing fireball got students pumped to hit the books Monday during a pep rally at the Dunbar K-8 Center in Overtown.
The Heat mascot and other members of the NBA team made a special appearance for the first day of school.
"The first day, the kids are a little anxious. They're a little happy. But this is a great way to come back to school," Miami Heat arena host Dale McLean said.
Kids lined up Monday morning to receive $5,000 worth of free school supplies the team provided.
Four Heat players helped distribute backpacks, notebooks and crayons.
"It means a lot because I was one of these kids before, so it just brings back a lot of memories," shooting guard Rodney McGruder said.
The kids are among the 350,000 students in Miami-Dade County who went back to school Monday.
"I love the first day of school," Tina Rivera, whose great-grandchildren attend Lenora Braynon Smith Elementary School, said. "Because I could rest. I got a couple hours off."
While some students were anxious or nervous for the first day of school, some were excited to get back to seeing their friends.
"I get to see my old friends, get to learn new things with them. And it's a good thing. It's a good experience and, you know, many kids don't got this opportunity," Elvin Alvarez, who is a junior at Miami Jackson Senior High School, said.
Meanwhile, parents and students have mixed reactions to a new state law that mandates that there has to be a police officer or armed security guard at every school.
"That's a great idea. They should have been done that a long time," Diana Novoa, whose child attends Orchard Villa Elementary School, said.
"I don't really think it's necessary," Alvarez said. "But I can make a change. I mean, it's right in some ways."
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