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Student Council Members Bring Buddy Bench to RVES

Second graders Keelie Durham, 8, and Camryn Lanza, 8, sit on a “Buddy Bench. Members of the fifth grade student council at Ridgeview Elementary school raised funds for a “Buddy Bench” this school year. If a student is lonely, or has no one to play with at recess that day, they sit on the bench located in the school’s playground. This gives other students the cue to ask the sitting student to play.

“Sometimes you can be really lonely, and you might need a friend,” said Mia Reaves, fifth grade student council representative.

Jake Amaya, fifth grade student representative, came up with the idea. “I saw a lot of people in the playground that didn’t have someone to play with,” he said. Jake searched the internet for ideas to remedy that situation, and came across the Buddy Bench. He presented the idea to the school’s principal, Theresa Ritz, and to the student council.

“I thought it was an awesome idea,” said Jackie Bonath, fifth grade teacher and student council advisor. “[Students] can wait for someone to spread kindness to them.”  Bonath purchased the bench with funds the students raised by selling pumpkins, turtle-shaped stress relievers, and other items. The custodial staff at the school donated their time, and the hardware, to install the bench in mid-April.
“People have opinions about people,” said Kelly Pettengill, fifth grade student council representative. “Maybe if we talk to [other students], we can make a bond with them and become friends.”

The student council is in the process of spreading the word about the bench. They produced this video to help other students understand how it can be used: .

Fifth-graders Cayden Telge, 11, and Kelly Pettengill, 11, sit on a “Buddy Bench”.
Fifth-grader Jake Amaya, 11, sits on a “Buddy Bench”.
Fifth-graders Jake Amaya, 11, Tristan Gunderson, 11, and Owen Lee, 10, sit on a “Buddy Bench”.  
Kayla Maldonado