Buddy Bench Installed At New Horizons Elementary School

The Rotary Club of Wellington’s Larry Kemp, Caroline Pena and Don Gross with author Loverly Sheridan at the Buddy Bench.

New Horizons Elementary School, with support from the Rotary Club of Wellington, is the most recent addition to the growing Buddy Ambassadors program.

The school held a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 9, during which 69 students were presented with patches and certificates, signifying their appointments as Buddy Ambassadors.

“We are very excited to have the Buddy Bench here at New Horizons,” said Principal Dana Pallaria, who then spoke of two students lost in a tragic accident last year. “Skyler and Tristan [Prestano] were exemplar students here, and we felt this was a good way to incorporate the Buddy Bench here, as well as a memory of our two boys.”

The Buddy Bench will be located in a high-traffic area near water fountains and fields where students play — a prime spot for the children to practice what they have learned.

“The Rotary Club has already funded and built Buddy Benches for each remaining elementary school in Wellington,” Rotary Club President David Berns said.

The program got underway last year, but due to the pandemic, not all of them have been delivered. “They are in storage and awaiting placement,” Program Chair Larry Kemp said.

Loverly Sheridan, author of Be a Buddy, Not a Bully and director of the Buddy Bench and Buddy Ambassadors program, was on hand to speak with the children about the importance of inclusion.

While some staff and students were able to attend the ceremony in person, the entire school was able to watch both from their classrooms and virtually from home.

Visit www.buddyambassadors.com to learn more about the Buddy Bench program.