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Long IslandEducation

Way to Go: Lauren Depre, of Deer Park

Lauren Depre made a pair of buddy benches

Lauren Depre made a pair of buddy benches for John Quincy Adams Primary School in Deer Park. She is pictured with John Quincy Adams Principal Christopher Molinelli and students. Photo Credit: Deer Park School District

A Deer Park High School senior is making sure that students at a local elementary school all have buddies.

Lauren Depre, 17, has installed two “buddy benches” on the playground at John Quincy Adams Primary School for use by students in need of a friend during recess. The student body has been advised to keep an eye out for peers sitting on the benches, Depre said.

The effort was the community service component of her Gold Award, the highest honor that can be earned by a Girl Scout.

“The friends you meet when you’re young are ones that will last throughout high school,” Depre said of the benches’ importance. “When I was in elementary school, I met one of my best friends.”

One bench is decorated with colorful handprints and the motto “The only way to have a friend is to be one,” while the other is decorated with smiley faces and the words “Be someone’s reason to smile.”

Depre got help from family and one of her father’s friends, who is a carpenter.

“These benches will serve as a tool to help bring our students closer together and to ensure that each student feels included and loved,” John Quincy Adams Principal Christopher Molinelli said.

Depre also plays clarinet and is in her school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club.

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