Withrow Elementary School introduces ‘buddy bench’ for making friends

Withrow Elementary School in Lake Elsinore introduces a “buddy bench” for students during their “Friday Flag” ceremony, Aug. 25. The bench will serve as a safe place for students to make friends and to learn to be accepting of one another. Courtesy photo
Withrow Elementary School in Lake Elsinore introduces a “buddy bench” for students during their “Friday Flag” ceremony, Aug. 25. The bench will serve as a safe place for students to make friends and to learn to be accepting of one another. Courtesy photo

LAKE ELSINORE – An elementary school in Lake Elsinore Unified School District created a safe space for students to make friends Friday, Aug. 25.

Withrow Elementary School, after some deliberation between Assistant Principal Amity Conkright and concerned grandparent David Masters, installed a “buddy bench” at their weekly “Friday Flag” ceremony, Aug. 25, to help students be more accepting and inclusive of one another.

Students will be taught that the buddy bench is a safe place for any student to make new friends. Students are encouraged to be polite and welcoming toward any student seated on the bench. Already, Earl Warren Elementary in Lake Elsinore Unified School District has created a buddy bench that helps its students to be more inclusive.


Masters wanted to create a buddy bench to foster friendships among students and help his grandson, Nathan Merritt, who is a second grade special needs student. Masters attended the buddy bench unveiling with his grandson.

The buddy bench itself was built by Ed Munguia, who has recently been into woodworking. Michelle Blair donated the stenciled artwork of Withrow’s school mascot on the bench and painted the bench’s slogan, “Where Friendships Begin.”

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