Madonna students find friends on the 'buddy bench'
A group of fourth graders from Madonna Catholic Regional School in Monongahela have recently joined a growing movement across the country and world with the creation of a “buddy bench.”
The buddy bench is a “special bench” – usually playfully and colorfully decorated – placed in a school's recess area. Students who are feeling bored or lonely can sit on the bench. Other students then come talk to the student and engage them in a game or conversation.
The project was introduced by the school's guidance counselor, Michele Ruddock, who was inspired to bring the concept to Madonna after reading about it on Facebook.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought, ‘I have to do this,'” Ruddock explained.
With the support of staff, teachers, and Principal Don Militzer, Ruddock chose Gerri Fusina's fourth grade students to help design and create the school's buddy bench.
As soon as the concept was introduced and explained to the students, they were very excited about it, according to Ruddock.
The students chose the bench's design and paint colors.
They worked together to paint the bench and develop friendship activities to help further the bench's purpose of kindness and sharing.
From planning to presentation, the students were actively involved in the project.
“The kids took ownership of the project,” Ruddock said.
When the bench was completed, the fourth graders performed a skit for the rest of the student body to introduce the buddy bench system to the school.
The students portrayed themselves engaging in various playground activities with a student feeling “left out.” The student then used the buddy bench, where her classmates came to help her join in a fun game with the others.
Ruddock, who regularly discusses positive approaches to disagreements and conflict with the children, also discussed the importance of acceptance and friendship with the K-8 student body.
The buddy bench project was a “fun, rewarding, and educational experience for the students,” according to Ruddock, who expressed her pride in the students and hopes the bench will continue to foster friendship for years to come.
Miranda Startare is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sutersville denied grant to fix boat ramp
- Problem with gas line forces evacuations in California Borough
- Rostraver man faces trial in child sex case
- Scottdale costume shop not just for Halloween, Christmas
- Ringgold senior headed to U.S. Naval Academy
- Scottdale-filmed ‘Gore Orphanage’ wins online contest
- Monongahela man charged in assault of disabled father with antlers