SUMTER, S.C. — As the school year began for students across the country, teachers in Sumter spent part of their day on Friday praying for the family of a missing child.
Nevaeh Adams, a five-year-old Sumter girl, disappeared on August 5 after police say her mother was murdered.
Her story brought people across the state together to find her, and, on Friday, it brought her soon-to-be teachers together in prayer.
"It was almost spiritual," Helen Simon, a staff member at Alice Drive Elementary School said.
She joined two bus loads of other teachers, faculty and staff as they toured the community where their students live as an exercise to prepare for the start of the year.
"There was a lot of laughter and discussion and we were having a really good time playing games and everything," Tina Sorrells said, "but when we pulled into the parking lot it got quiet."
They arrived at Lantana Apartments, where Adams' mother Sharee Bradley was found dead. From there, the group unboarded and began to pray.
"I thought it was very powerful," Simon said. "... it just brought some unity among everyone."
Staff say Adams would have been a student there. Her oldest brother had already attended the school.
"We feel just so sad about this situation... just because how active Sharee was as a parent," Shaentae Vines said. "She did everything she could to make sure her oldest son, who was a student here, had a good education."
Faculty at Alice Drive say they were brought closer by the tour and look forward to the start of the semester.