Golden Brook School Unveils a ‘Buddy Bench’

September 18, 2015


by Jay Hobson

Golden Brook School unveiled a Buddy Bench on Friday in efforts to help the kindergarten to second grade students make friends.

“If a child wants to play but has no one to play with, he or she sits on the bench and all the students know that that person needs a friend,” Assistant Principal Deanna Poulin said.

According to Guidance Counselor Sally Hunt, a parent approached her last year about the Buddy Bench, noting that there was an organization called the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation that donated the benches.

“We decided to have the students write the letters requesting a bench, and the adults filled out the applications and over the summer we got the bench,” Hunt said.

The unveiling took place in the school gymnasium, and music teacher Eric Graff pulled away the sheet covering the bench in front of the approximately 452 students at a school-wide assembly.

According to parent Kate Lewandowski, Joseph Middlemiss, 6, lost his life unexpectedly to Cardiomyopathy.

A graphic displayed during the unveiling said that music was a constant in Joey’s life, and the foundation web page said that he was a “gifted drummer, music soothed him, excited him and allowed him to communicate in a way that words could not.

Joey loved Star Wars, Spiderman, his iPad, Ninja Turtles, crab fishing at “his” cottage in Maine, riding his dune buggy, but most of all he loved his family.  His spirit will live on forever in the hearts of all he touched.  “This is the best day of my life,” were words Joey added to his evening prayers.  He demonstrated a passion for living each day to the fullest, exuberating joy that reached out and touched each of our hearts.”

Joey died on Sept. 23, 2013.

Second grader Sam Clarke, 7, said that he will be inviting any student that sits on the bench to play with him.

“If I see someone sitting on the bench I will ask them to play.  I could make more friends,” Clarke said.