Buddy Bench unveiled at the elementary school playground

Three students seated on red bench
Second graders Victor Eckler, Natalie Wemple and Sophia McWayne enjoy the Buddy Bench.

Fonda-Fultonville Elementary School’s new Buddy Bench is helping students foster kindness and making sure that no one feels left out on the playground.

Last week, the school’s Character Education Committee unveiled the new Buddy Bench. The concept of the bench is simple: students who want to participate in playground games and activities, but may feel shy, can take a seat. This signifies to their classmates that they may need an extra boost to participate or that they would like someone to walk and talk with.

“This building is filled with responsible students who have excellent character,” Board of Education member Michelle Isabella said at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “I know you will all put this to good use and that you will never leave a buddy behind.”

Fourth grade teacher Amy Mulyca, the chairwoman of the Character Education Committee, said she heard about the Buddy Bench concept when it was first introduced at Roundtown Elementary School by student Christian Bucks.

“The Buddy Bench will help make sure every student feels welcome and has friends to play with,” she said. “We want to make sure every student feels like they are a part of our school.”

The Buddy Bench was made possible thanks to the generous support of many people. When the idea was proposed last year, then-fourth grader Ashley Glode went home and told her family about it. Mr. John Glode, her father and the regional director of Liberty ARC in Amsterdam, organized a pie throwing event at Liberty to raise money for the bench.

Members of the Cubby Faville Memorial Fund later approached Mrs. Mulyca and asked her if the school would like a Buddy Bench. When she told them there was an effort underway, they eagerly made a large donation. Mrs. Chrissy Altemus also made a donation.

“I would like to thank our generous donors and students for making this a reality,” Mrs. Mulyca said.