You’ve Got a Friend at Sward


Sward was the latest District 123 school to receive a Buddy Bench for the playground. The project was a full school affair. This year the Sward Student Council wrote speeches under the theme of kindness, from these speeches the idea of a Buddy Bench was formed. A Buddy Bench is a place where a child can sit on the playground and another student can come up to them knowing they are looking for a buddy. The bench encourages kindness and camaraderie among the students.

“While recess is meant to be a time for fun and laughter, unfortunately for some, recess can be a time that poses an emotional challenge. If a student is seen sitting on the bench alone, it is a signal to other students to ask him or her to play. This bench will allow students to develop their leadership skills as they recognize a fellow student in need and take action,” said Principal Candy Kramer. 

The bench was brought to life by Mr. Brodnick who built the bench and Mrs. Peterson and Mrs. Sweetser painted it Sward blue and visited a Student Council meeting to apply the handprints, and to Mrs. Jensen’s brother-in-law who made the beautiful plaque of dedication and remembrance. The bench is dedicated to someone who embodied the ideas behind a Buddy Bench, former Sward student, Officer Conrad Gary, whose family was at the dedication ceremony.

“Conrad Gary was an admirable young man with a pleasant demeanor who was always prepared and an all around good person. There was no surprise that this young man grew up to become a police officer who would dedicate himself to helping others. With a kind heart and caring attitude, he was the person who had an infectious laugh, treated others kindly, and exemplified the Eagle expectation of leading by example,” said Kramer. “Through the dedication of this Buddy Bench, we will always have a special remembrance of a former Sward student who believed everyone should have a friend.”

The Buddy Bench is now installed at Sward overlooking the playground.