OROVILLE -- Students in the Butte County are getting a special gift of encouragement after spending many weeks away from school.
"The kids had to sleep in their cars because that's where the animals were. So it was a long tough week, and we are proud of them coming back," Superintendent Tim Taylor said.
After a week of evacuations prompted by the Oroville spillway emergency, another week of Spring break, and a third week of settling back in, students at Stream Charter School in Oroville attended a special assembly Monday morning.
Butte College and Las Plumas High School football players kicked off the assembly with a throwing game, a spelling bee, and a presentation of a special box from San Francisco.
The superintendent said the San Francisco 49ers were one of the first organizations to show their support for the kids. They said they will be giving 31 official "The Duke" NFL footballs to each school that was affected.
"It was really exciting for them to help us out. They were very gracious," Superintendent Taylor said.
They received a ball, letter, and words of encouragement saying, "After hearing students from your school were affected, we wanted you to know that we are with you..."
Teachers said this morale boost could not have come at a better time. Just 9 hours after emergency evacuations were called on February 12th, the 8th graders were supported to fly out to Washington DC for their class trip. But that trip was cancelled. Re-booking appointments cost extra money- Cash they didn't have.
"That just broke my heart," Taylor said.
But just before the assembly, the California Small School Districts Association donated a $1,500 to Stream 8th graders. Now they are .
"It really shows that people really care about them. People are actually looking out for them. They're not just something out there that no one sees. People see them and who are they and how great they can be," Butte College football Defensive End, Gohn Gotz said.
"Anything we can do to help, and get the kids back on their feet. And not be afraid of what happened," Taylor said.
The Stream Charter 8th graders will go on their Washington DC class trip next Tuesday through Saturday.