When they return to school in August, children at Greenwood Elementary School will have a new way to socialize, thanks to the efforts of two boys at the school this spring. First-grader Maddox Hillmer and fifth-grader Skylar Diehl worked together to build create a buddy bench for the school’s playground.
“We want to build a bench where kids can go sit if they are having troubles finding someone to play with at recess,” the boys said. “Sometimes it’s hard to find someone. If you sit there, other people will see and ask you to play.”
During Greenwood’s weekly Genius Hour, first-graders meet with their fifth-grade buddies and are encouraged to discover and follow their passions and to help others.
Maddox and Skylar shared their bench idea with Greenwood’s mayor and were hooked up with the city’s Utility Department, which coordinated the building of the bench. The students and city staffers created a supply list, and a plan for the bench was sketched with the help of Kirt Grahl and others from the Utility Department.
Equity Bank of Lee’s Summit donated a $150 Home Depot gift card for materials, and the two students helped city staff members build the bench in early May. The bench will be painted later this year.