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We had such an exciting morning at our school on Monday, May 21. Our PTO Board Fundraising/Grants chairs, through a very generous grant contribution from the Winter Garden Masonic Lodge, were successful in bringing an initiative to our school to install 2 Buddy Benches that will be on our playground/recess areas. The 3rd Grade students then took on the Buddy Benches as their community outreach project where they hosted an election for all students to vote on the color and design for the Buddy Benches, wrote persuasive letters to others in the community to spread awareness about the Buddy Bench initiative, presented their idea at the April PTO Meeting and other school events and did a skit this morning showing what happens when a friend sits on the Buddy Benches where they invited the student to join them to play. All OACS students will commit that if someone is sitting on the bench they make a commitment to invite them to play or walk and talk. This is such a great initiative to spread love and kindness and eliminate loneliness. Many were in tears at the ribbon cutting / unveiling of the Buddy Benches this morning listening to the students take the Buddy Bench Pledge (see attached) with one another. The Vice Mayor, Chief of Police, Town Manager & Assistant Town Manager from the Town of Oakland were all present this morning as well as members from the Winter Garden Masonic Lodge and several members of the PTO Board as well as teachers, staff and students. So proud of our school and community for working together to bring this idea to our school, obtain this grant and see this project through. Absolutely love our school and our community. Thank you so very much to everyone involved!! Keep an eye out in the West Orange Times as they will be doing a story on this project!