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Becoming friends on the playground

Onalie Dennis used her $500 cash winnings from being named Miss Wisconsin Pre-Teen to help purchase a Buddy Bench for Hillside Elementary in New RIchmond. (Photo by Jason Schulte)

When she was named Miss Wisconsin Pre-Teen in April, part of Onalie Dennis’ winnings was $500 cash.

Dennis was unsure of what to do with the money until her mother, Terina, showed her a video of the Buddy Bench.

The video showed how useful the bench could be on school playgrounds in eliminating loneliness and fostering friendship.  

“For those who don’t have a friend, so they can know each other and become friends,” she said.

Dennis thought it would be a good addition to Hillside Elementary where she started fifth-grade last month.

Hillside Principal Frank Norton agreed.

“We jumped on it right away,” Norton said, adding the bench would fall in line with the school’s values of doing things and being kind to each other. “We thought it was a great idea.”

The bench was installed two weeks ago nestled in the trees in the school’s playground. Norton said the colors of the bench and location were picked by Dennis.

“The kids sit on it and like it,” Norton said.

The Dennis family wanted to thank Cemstone Ready-Mix for donating the concrete for the slab and Concrete Illusions for the time and labour to pour and stamp the concrete.

“Onalie is always looking for ways to help the community and think of others,” Norton concluded.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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