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Chickamauga Elementary School and Gordon Lee Middle School students check out a new Buddy Bench donated to CES. From left are rising fourth-grader James Eldridge, rising eighth-grader Emilie Eldridge, rising eighth-grader Anthony Sikes and rising fifth-grader Luke Sikes.

This fall, Chickamauga Elementary School will have a Buddy Bench for kids looking for a playmate.

A student's family recently donated the bench.

"Parents like to contribute to make the school a better place," said Principal Jeff Sikes. "The grandmother came to me and asked permission to donate the bench. She wanted to give it to the school."

Cindy Coulter's third-grade class accepted the yellow bench emblazoned with "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted!" Coulter's students put their handprints on the bench using purple, green, red and blue paint to give it a special student touch, she said.

"The grandmother said the bench could be a place where kids could sit that need a buddy," Coulter said. "It's supposed to draw a child's attention to see, 'Oh, someone sitting there needs a buddy so I will get them to come play with me.' The plan is to move the bench to the playground."

Coulter said her students like the concept of helping other students who need a buddy.

"We are always encouraging students to reach out and talk to new students," she said. "The Buddy Bench is a good concept."

The colorful additions don't stop there. Starting in August, said Sikes, CES will have new 2-D and 3-D murals in the classrooms.

"We have a lot of strategies from Ron Clark [Academy] in Atlanta," he said, adding that Clark's focus on incorporating movement into learning sparked outfitting classrooms with a button that activates music. "It's about getting your blood flowing and energy. If you give students a minute of movement, it makes them more behaved."

For example, he said, students will be told if the answer is "A," do jumping jacks. If the answer is "B," do push-ups.

"We will also enforce new rules school-wide in August," added Sikes. "We will teach students to say 'Yes, ma'am" and 'No, sir.' We will teach them to look adults in the eyes when they talk to them. Manners and character will start here at school. We will post the new rules."

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