Skip to main content

The City Journals

Harlem Globetrotter recognizes Willow Canyon student who wants School Buddy Bench

Apr 26, 2017 12:03PM ● By Julie Slama

Harlem Globetrotter “Buckets” and Willow Canyon third-grader Qwade Rondeau team up to promote friendship at his school. (Tausha Rondeau/parent)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Willow Canyon third-grader Qwade Rondeau was reading “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” last year when he learned about buddy benches.
“It’s a place where if you’re lonely, you go there if you need a friend to play games with or play on the playground,” he said. “There’s lots of friends at our school and if you’re lonely, you’re wasting time at recess when you could be having fun.”
So, as a second-grader, Qwade asked his principal, Marilyn Williams, if the school could install a buddy bench.
“I thought it was a great idea,” Williams said. “We have organized games through Playworks, so it would be easy for a student to grab another to get them involved in a game.  He just wanted to make sure everyone has someone to play with.”
The buddy bench, which had to gain approval and be purchased, is slated for a spring installation, about one year after Qwade suggested it.
His mother, Tausha, said the idea was all his own.
“He was the one who came up with it and kept reminding his principal, probably daily, about it,” she said.
For wanting his classmates to have a buddy, Qwade was recognized by KSL High 5 award, which recognizes someone doing good in their community.  The award also came with a visit from Harlem Globetrotter “Buckets.”
“I thought the assembly was going to be a music assembly, so when they called my name to come up and get the High 5 award, I was surprised. Buckets showed us a lot of basketball tricks and I got to have Buckets spin the ball on my finger,” he said.
He also received tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters game and had the opportunity to meet other players at the pre-show.
At the school, Buckets also went over the Globetrotters’ “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention” — action, bravery and compassion — with the students so they can use the key words as tools to reduce bullying as well as have them offer support to one another and extend their friendship, Williams said.
“We have a program already in place that goes hand-in-hand with their initiative that we have integrated into our daily activities and everyone is trained school-wide, so we have very few behavioral issues at our school.  We teach ‘stop, walk and talk’ where we empower our bystanders to stop the action and support the person who is a victim,” Williams said.
She said the program is offered at schools throughout Canyons School District as part of the positive behavior program. 
Tausha Rondeau said Qwade takes the time to show others he cares.
“Every day after school he will stop by each of his previous teachers’ classroom just to say ‘hi’ and see how they are doing,” she said. “(When Qwade learned) it was the janitor’s birthday the first of the year and (he) found out he liked chocolate chip cookies. So Qwade came home and asked if we could make Al, the janitor, some chocolate chip cookies for his birthday and we did and he was so excited to deliver them to school.”
Now Qwade includes Al on several cards and gifts throughout the school year, she said.
Williams said Qwade’s idea of a buddy bench fits into the expectation of being friendly and caring.
“We teach kindness and passion and practice it at our school and hold the students accountable,” she said. “Qwade wants to improve and build positive relationships at our school and by installing a buddy bench, we’ll all be empowered to meet these expectations.”