By Bonita Wilborn
A group of 4th grade students at Fyffe Elementary School saw a need on their school’s playground and took action. The 4th graders wrote letters to their mayor to ask for his help in getting a buddy bench.
According to the students, it all started when they read a book in class about empathy. They learned that empathy means putting yourself in the shoes of others and thinking how other people might feel in certain situations. In the book, it talked about students who might feel lonely on the playground.
The book also talked about a school that had a buddy bench on its playground. This was where a lonely child could sit, and other students would see them and know that they needed a friend.
The Fyffe 4th graders expressed their concern to their teacher that they knew sometimes kids are lonely on their playground, but those kids might not tell anyone because they are shy or embarrassed.
The students loved the idea and wanted a buddy bench for their playground at Fyffe Park. This would make it easier to know who might need a friend. They decided to write letters to Fyffe Mayor Paul Cagle to ask if he could help them get one. They even included a short video with some of them speaking about why a buddy bench would be good to have on their playground. The school’s 3rd and 5th grade students joined in and also wrote letters to the mayor.
A few days after the letters were delivered to city hall, Mayor Cagle called the school to say that the students had made it very hard to say no, and of course he would help them get a buddy bench.
Help was enlisted from a parent who works at Gametime in Fort Payne to design the bench. A few months later, the red buddy bench was installed on the playground and now the students are all smiles.
They are already making good use of it and are happy that they could do a good deed to help each other out on the playground. The students would like to say a huge, “Thank you!” to Mayor Cagle and the Fyffe City Council members.