Schools Dedicates Buddy Bench To Remember Student

On Tues., Oct. 18, Hudson Maxim School in Hopatcong  unveiled its newest addition to the playground, Alex’s Buddy Bench. The bench is dedicated to Alexandra Cafferata, a Hudson Maxim kindergartener who lost her battle with pediatric cancer in 2013. Alex’s teachers, Maria DeLorenzo and Melanie Rowbotham, wanted something at the school to remember Alex by, and when guidance counselor Lisa Schuffenhauer heard about the country wide implementation of buddy benches, she knew it was perfect! The Buddy Bench was originally designed by a first grade student in Pennsylvania. The main purpose was to help students who were looking to join other classmates in activities at recess.
Mr. Juskus and his woodshop students at Hopatcong High School built a buddy bench for each of the Hopatcong elementary schools. Hudson Maxim staff spent the summer painting their bench yellow, for childhood cancer awareness. They added the words for the six pillars of character education as a reminder of the bucket filling traits at the school. SignArt Graphic created a weatherproof photo of Alex that could be attached to the front of the bench.
Alex’s family and friends attended the buddy bench unveiling ceremony and the students had an overwhelmingly positive response to the idea of having a safe place to find and make new friends at recess.  Future Hudson Maxim students will continue to benefit from the positive impact of having a buddy bench, all while keeping the friendly, caring, spunky attitude of Alex alive.

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