Oklahoma School for the Deaf
Oklahoma School for the Deaf has a new Buddy Bench thanks to the hard work of students in the high school welding class! See the press release below to learn how it came about for this great school!
SULPHUR, Okla. – Elementary students at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf are fostering friendship during recess with a happy place for students who feel lonely or want a friend. They call that place the Buddy Bench.
OSD Director of Student Assessment Traci Prince was motivated to act after watching a news story about Christian Bucks, a first-grader from Roundtown, Pennsylvania. Buck started the Buddy Bench program at his school after seeing photos online of a German version.
His idea caught on in the U.S., spread to other schools and was picked up by the national news.
“When a child feels lonely, wants to play with someone, or just wants to have someone to talk to, they can go sit on the bench,” Prince explained. “While watching the story, I was so touched that the other kids noticed and took an initiative to help.”
Last fall, Prince approached OSD Social Worker Sue Cole and welding teacher, J. J. McGill, about making a bench for OSD students. They agreed.
High school welding students, Zachery Acuff from Moore, Montrell Adams from Tulsa, Kentrell McCoy from Oklahoma City and Sean Thomas Sledd from Ada completed the wood and pipe bench.
OSD intern at the time, Cait Spencer, made arrangements for the boys to present the bench to the elementary students during a school assembly in the spring.
OSD’s maintenance department had a plaque engraved with the boys’ names and cemented the bench on the playground, where it’s used on a daily basis while school is in session.
“We think it is a great reminder to our younger students that the high school students care about them and that we all take care of each other,” Prince said. “It’s also an example [of] how as a family — an administrator, a teacher, support staff, an intern, maintenance department, and students – we can work together to make something pretty special happen.
Plus, she adds, “It coincides perfectly with our theme this year of ‘We are One!’”
What is the Buddy Bench?
Roundtown Elementary helped make this possible, and we thank them for being receptive to Christian's idea!