Thanks to a new, colorful “Buddy Bench,” Blue Creek students never have to feel left out at the playground.
The bench, right on the grass beside the playground, is a place where students who are feeling lonely, or want to be included, can sit. When other kids see someone on the buddy bench, they can go and ask them to play or talk.
“If students see someone sitting on the bench, they know it’s their responsibility to include them, or see if they want to be included,” said Blue Creek school counselor Eileen Satterlee a member of the School Success Team. The team is an integral part of sustaining the PeaceAble School Program, which focuses on teaching students character education and conflict-resolution skills. Blue Creek students learn crucial skills that enable them to be respectful and responsible members of their community. A student gets ready to put her thumbprint on Blue Creek’s buddy bench.
The School Success Team includes Kathleen Berger, Lea Carafello, Jillian Carpentieri, Lisa Coons, Reggie Daigle, Wendy Dorset, Brook Greco, Erica Ladu, Rita Pickett, Kim Proctor, Heidi Quackenbush, Eileen Satterlee, Mike Shanahan, Annette Trapini, Maya Trawinski and Gail Wilner-Giwerc.
Nearly 600 thumbprints in various colors adorn the bench. All of the staff and students placed their prints on the bench, as did North Colonie Central School District Superintendent D. Joseph Corr and Assistant Superintendent Kathy Skeals.
Blue Creek Elementary Principal Annette Trapini said she’s thankful to the School Success Team for bringing the Buddy Bench to life.
“At Blue Creek we call ourselves the PeaceAble school. From early on students are taught that they are responsible for creating and maintaining a peaceful community. Making everyone feel welcome and have a sense of belonging is all of our shared responsibility. I am grateful that our School Success Team for their continued leadership in shaping our school culture. Each year they find new ways to help us instill our core values in our students,” she said.
Satterllee, as well, feels the Buddy Bench is another facet of the driving philosophy that Blue Creek adheres to.
“Years and years ago, we decided to come together as a community and focus on communication and responsibility,” said Satterlee. “We do a lot of character education in the school. When you walk through those doors, you’re here to be the best person you can be.”
Click here to see view a photo gallery of the Buddy Bench.