Schor student shows friendship for Grandview

Schor student builds Friendship Benches for buddies at Grandview
Posted on 04/21/2023
This is the image for the news article titled Schor student builds Friendship Benches for buddies at GrandviewAn eighth-grader at Schor Middle School generously donated her time, energy, and creativity to build “Friendship Benches” for Grandview Elementary School to help students at her former school who may have trouble making friends.

Jade Antunes built the benches as part of her Silver Award project for Girl Scout Troop 81105. She added a lively paint job with the help of third-grade art students at Grandview, including the messages “Try to be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud” and “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

Jade said she felt it was important to get the Grandview art students involved.

“It was a really nice experience working with them and I made some good bonds with the kids,” she said. “Also I think it made them feel more connected with the project. It made them feel like this project wasn’t just from a random Girl Scout in middle school.”

students painting bench

Jade delivered the benches and explained the project to Grandview students during lunchtime assemblies on April 5. Jade explained to the younger children that the benches are a good place to sit if you are looking to make a new friend. She was inspired by her younger sister, Amber, who also attended Grandview and is now a student at Arbor Intermediate School.

She got donations of wood and paint from her uncle’s construction company, and her father donated the screws. The object of the Girl Scouts’ Silver Award project is to make a change that affects an issue you care about in your community, Jade explained.

“It can be anything, any issue you care about a lot,” she said at the assembly. “Then you want to figure out how you can create a long-lasting change with that issue in your community, how can you create a fix for that problem that can last forever.”

girls scout high-fiving students

The students enthusiastically asked questions about the project, the benches, and Jade’s experiences in the Girl Scouts. At the end of the assembly, some students came up to talk to her individually, give her hugs, or examine the patches on her Girl Scout vest.

“The reaction I got from the students was incredible,” Jade said. “I was not expecting it at all. When you do something like that you have to prepare for the worst. I was prepared for them to not be interested, just want to eat their lunch in peace and talk to their friends. The kids participated a lot more than I expected, too. Raising their hands when I asked them questions was definitely not what I was expecting.”

girl scout, mother, principal behind bench
Jade Antunes with her mother, Rebecca, and Grandview Principal Neel Desai.

Jade’s mother, Rebecca, accompanied her to the assemblies and is happy to see the growth in her daughter as she progressed through the project.

“She has learned to research various avenues, overcome the fear of speaking with and to others, and holding on tight to the reins even when things changed,” she said. “The Friendship Benches have turned out to be bright, colorful, and elaborate – like our daughter.”

girl building bench

Jade’s school is just as proud of her work to help the community.

“We, here at T. Schor, are very proud of her hard work and civic virtues that enhanced and beautified Grandview School,” said Schor Principal Lisa Parker. “As a leader and good role model, Jade dreamed of an idea to give back to students who might be in need of a friend during recess time. She put her dream into action by building a Friendship Bench, and her leadership skills allowed her to oversee the third-grade students who decorated the bench. We wish her continued success in achieving all of her future endeavors.”

Grandview Principal Neel Desai said the school is grateful for Jade’s generous gifts and for the chance to reconnect with a former student who has gone on to great experiences.

“She was absolutely amazing and helped all of our students better understand the Silver Award project, how she built the benches, and how the students can use the benches at Grandview School,” he said. “These benches will be used for years to come and will be a welcome addition to our playground area, and Jade can come back and visit any time.”

bench outside school