Delavan-Darien High School and Darien Elementary School students are working together to forge friendships on the playground.
Fifth grader Kaitlin Frank presented an idea to her teachers and the wheels were put into motion — or rather, the hammers started swinging and saws started cutting — to create and install the district’s first-ever “Friendship Bench.”
Four students in the high school’s building construction class built, and Darien Elementary art students are painting the park bench that will soon become a fixture on the Darien Elementary School’s playground.
The bench will be used for students at recess. If a student doesn’t have have a friend to play with, they can sit on the bench to let other students know that they would like a friend to play with them.
The builders in Mr. Mike Fellin’s class were seniors Carlos De La Cruz, Oscar Nova and Ricardo Nova Jr., and junior Emanuel Iniguez. It took about two weeks to complete the bench from the time they saw a photo of a “friendship bench” provided by Darien Elementary Principal Kelly Pickel. The students designed the bench from the photo and made some changes to make it more stable for the kids who would be using it, Fellin said.
Frank, along with fellow Darien fifth graders Katherine Gonzalez, Daniel Minton, Ezekiel Rice, Jesus Vara, Talia Fox, Faith Stoll, Jordan Breidenstein and Jaelyn Schwartz, along with fourth graders Kaleb Guzman and Cayla Hamell and third grader Jaden Lamay are all contributing their time and talents to painting the bench. They are coming in over their lunch recess to paint it in art teacher Lynea Axelson’s classroom.
This isn’t the first project students in Fellin’s building construction class have done for the school district. They’ve also built storage shelves for the DDHS Athletics Department, mobile Chromebook storage shelves for the IT department, boxes for the first or second graders at Darien Elementary, signs designating the home and away seating in the DDHS gyms, stools for teachers, tables and cabinets for the DDHS teachers lounge, and much more.