Nearly five months after Kiera Bergman's body was found in the Arizona desert, her family and friends showed up to a self-defense class created in her honor Saturday in the hopes of passing on potentially lifesaving skills.
Nearly 50 people, many teenagers, gathered for the two-hour training session inside the gymnasium at Valhalla High School where Bergman graduated.
A pair of Bergman’s former teachers organized the event in hopes of making something good out of the tragedy.
"We felt so helpless, and we wanted to take that negative energy and turn it into something positive," said teacher Toni Myers.
The session was hosted by Play It Safe Defense and was taught by Tracie and Matt Arlington who are black belts and certified self-protection experts.
The Arlingtons used active hands-on scenarios to involve the students in the importance of confidence, voice, and awareness.
Bergman's mother, Kiersten Bragg, was among those in the audience and applauded the efforts of the teachers bringing awareness to the teens.
"My prayer now is that other girls and guys learn what they can do in situations like that and be strong in it," said Bragg.
Bergman disappeared August 4, 2017, leaving her home without her money, purse, or car.
She sent a text message to her roommate, which was the last communication sent to her family and friends.
A bike rider discovered Bergman's body in the Arizona desert nearly a month later.
Bergman's boyfriend, Jon-Christopher Clark is accused of killing her and dumping her body on a well-traveled rural highway. Clark was 23 at the time.
He has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Bergman's death. The trial is ongoing.