Calais Schools to Promote Buddy Benches

By Kaileigh Deacon


At their meeting on March 27 the Calais School Committee heard a presentation from Sue Carter and Carl Ross about the Buddy Bench program. Ross’s brother started a program like this in his county in Alabama and wanted to help bring it back to the area in which he grew up. 

The Buddy Bench program has been started in many places across the United States and hopefully will become part of the schools locally. The idea behind the bench is to have a designated place where students can go and sit when they’re feeling sad or lonely and then another student can join them to talk or just sit with them and let them know that someone else is there. Ross’s brother has already built a bench for the Calais Elementary School which will be delivered later this year. 

Since the Calais School already has their own bench, they want to help raise money for the construction of another bench to be given to one of the other schools in the area. Superintendent Ron Jenkins was going to present the idea to the other superintendents in the county to see who was interested in getting a county-wide program. The cost of each bench in Alabama is roughly $65, which will likely be a little more here. The hope is that the money raised and the benches built will be done locally. 

The School Committee also approved the annual band trip to Boston. The trip has been an annual event for years for which they fundraise.  The trip gives students a chance to experience cultural events and have fun, too. They will see a Broadway show, visit the New England Aquarium and tour the Music School at Berkley College. Music Director Christine Proefrock told the Committee that the fundraising has gone extremely well this year allowing them to pay for more of the trip for students. 

The committee then approved the 8th grade class trip to Boston, Springfield and Portland. While thinking of upcoming events, the committee approved the spring  and volunteer coaches for this year. Tennis coach will be Billy Greenlaw with volunteers Alicia Greenlaw, David Sivret and Anne Scott. Track & Field will be Rob Moholland, and baseball will be Marc Rhode with volunteer Adam Geel. Softball coach is Toby Cole and volunteer Kari Cole. 

Superintendent Jenkins presented the renewal of the Robbinston tuition and central office contracts to the committee as a four year-agreement. It is typically done as a three-year contract but in doing so, these contracts will line up with the transportation contract already in effect. It was a unanimous decision to approve the two contracts. 

It was with regret that the School Committee accepted the resignation of St. Croix Technical Center Welding Instructor Richard McPhee to be effective at the end of this school year. 

In lieu of their regular meeting, the School Committee will hold a budget meeting on April 10th. The next regular School Committee meeting will be held on April 24 at 6 p.m.