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NewsDepth A+: Buddy Bench

People find inspiration in all kinds of places. Some people are inspired by athletes, others are inspired by books. I’m inspired by movies, and I’m not alone. Recently we met Nicholas, who is a fourth grader at Central Trail Elementary School in Sylvania, and he told us about how the movie Ron’s Gone Wrong inspired him to help his classmates feel welcome.

In the movie, Barney gets a robot named Ron, and it has a bit of a malfunction… Well, we have a no spoiler alerts rule here at NewsDepth, so that’s as much as we’re going to say about the movie. Anyway, Nicholas told us that he realized that a lot of kids at recess were playing by themselves and he was feeling inspired by Barney and Ron to come up with a plan to help his classmates make new friends. That’s when it hit him. He came up with the idea for a “buddy bench.”

A buddy bench is a bench where kids who are looking for friends to play with a recess can sit and other kids will invite them to play. I think that’s a really good idea and would have loved to have a buddy bench when I was in school.

Nicholas realized that it wouldn’t be as simple as just buying a bench and putting it on the playground. He first shared his idea with Ms. Blakeman, his school counselor. She loved the idea and and suggested they have lunch with the school’s principal, Mr. Blust, to share his plan and get permission. Nicholas was ready for the conversation with Mr. Blust. He had a fundraising plan ready to go, and he knew that he’d have to motivate his classmates to donate money. He also knew that the bench had to meet the safety requirements for it to be allowed on the playground.

Nicholas proposed that the classes in the school participate in a penny way to earn money. He told us that his classmates earned over $2000, which is enough money to buy the bench they need. While we’re talking about the penny war, we want to send our congratulations out to Ms. Sulewski’s kindergarten class for being the champions and earning a dance party with icecream as their prize.

Nicholas told us that he’s excited for the ribbon cutting for the bench, which will take place this spring. He’s really proud that his hard work will help his classmates make new friends. When he’s not planning fundraisers for new playground equipment, Nicholas told us he likes to play Fortnite and Roblox, and that he really enjoys tennis. He shared that watching NewsDepth is his favorite thing about school. We hope so, buddy.

This week’s A+ Award goes to Nicholas at Central Trail Elementary School for helping his classmates make new friends. Congratulations and keep up the great work!

Michael Edelman is the director of education for Ideastream Public Media.