Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are on Wednesday having their first full day of school since the deadly shooting on Valentine's Day, and received a visit from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade as well.
The students had returned to the Parkland school last week but have been attending classes on a shortened, modified schedule.
"It's hard but I'm really trying to cope," student Sebastian Benitez said. "I've missed like a lot over the past couple weeks now I'm just trying to get back on my normal routine."
The purpose of the modified schedule was to help transition the students back into the classroom and to help them heal following the tragedy that left 17 of their peers and school staff members dead.
"I know we're slowing going back into the school day but as we keep going it gets a little harder," 17-year-old student Desire Lora said. "Knowing that like we have some people not there with us anymore, and it won't be the same. Like every morning, Coach Feis would always be there."
DeVos called the visit "sobering and inspiring," and committed to working on preventing more school shootings.
Last week, the Department of Education awarded a $1 million relief grant to the Broward County School District.
"I come committed on behalf of this administration to continuing to work to find solutions so that no student and no parent ever has to go through what this community has had to endure," DeVos said. "We are committed not only to listening but to action."
Asked if she was in favor of arming teachers, as President Donald Trump has proposed, DeVos noted that the idea is "to have people who are expert in" guns, with lots of training, as an option for schools, states and communities to bring in. But she said she hadn't talked about it with students.
DeVos wasn't the only high-profile visitor to the school on Wednesday. Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade dropped by, "causing a stampede in the cafeteria," according to a tweet from student Diego Pfeiffer.
Wade spent more than two hours at the school, giving an impromptu pep talk in the cafeteria and meeting with small groups of students who were directly impacted by the shooting and others who have been active in the #NeverAgain movement.
"He came, he put a lot of smiles on everyone's faces and it was something I think our school really needed," student Jonathan Blank said.
Wade has spoken about the school before, and has advocated for gun reform — his cousin was fatally shot in Chicago last year.