Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 11-26-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | NOVEMBER 26-DECEMBER 3, 2019 NORTH PROVIDENCE / THE VALLEY 7 NORTH PROVIDENCE – Noting the popularity of Ricci Middle School's new Buddy Bench, dedicated in memory of former student Ian Novacek, the school is looking to help spread the program throughout the district. Ricci has two Buddy Benches, built by students at the school, and dedicated on Oct. 25 in memory of Novacek, who died in August 2018. The idea behind the Buddy Benches is to foster friendship and connection among the school com- munity. If someone is sitting on one of the benches, they might be look- ing for a friend, and other students are encouraged to come sit by them. "We wanted to do something to memorialize Ian," said Ricci Principal TJ Mellen. "Really, he was one of the most friendly, caring and thoughtful students that I ever met. Having a Buddy Bench and what that signifies is something we wanted to do for him." Now, Mellen and School Committee member Chuck Pollock are looking to expand the Buddy Bench programs to other schools in the district. "This would be a great oppor- tunity for our students," Mellen said, as the benches were built by Ricci students on the mechatron- ics team. "It's geared primarily for K-6, so it is appropriate certainly if Birchwood would like one as well." Mellen said the district has new children move in on "an almost daily basis," and that the Buddy Benches will help them feel less isolated. It's also a learning opportunity for the students who will collaborate to build the benches, like they did with Ian's benches at Ricci. Estimated costs are roughly $313 for an 8-foot bench. The School Committee, on Nov. 20, voted to allow Mellen to move forward with the project, building for all of the schools that might want one. "I certainly support the idea. I think it's a great idea, it's been around for a while and it's about time we took advantage of helping those kids who really need that," said Chairman Frank Pallotta. Ricci looking to build Buddy Benches for schools throughout district By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer nicole@valleybreeze.com One of Ricci Middle School's BUDDY BENCHES in memory of Ian Novacek. The buddy bench program will be expanded to other schools in the district. Place your classified ad online at classifieds.valleybreeze.com IN BRIEF 'Wreaths Across America' ceremony set for Dec. 10 GLOCESTER – A Wreaths Across America Veterans Recognition Ceremony will be held at the Ponaganset High School Field House, 137 Anan Wade Road, on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 9 a.m. This ceremony will honor vet- erans for serving our country and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The nationwide project was started by Morrill Worcester, of the Worcester Wreath Company locat- ed in Harrington, Maine, in 1992 with the donation and placing of 5,000 holiday wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, their mission to remember, honor and teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,600 additional locations, includ- ing Ponaganset High School. Refreshments will be offered. Guests are asked to arrive by 8:30 a.m. RSVP with number of guests attending to aricketson@fgschools. com or mcalenda@fgschools.com or by calling Amy Ricketson at 401-710-7500, ext. 3372.

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