UPS helps Buddy Bench grow

December 17, 2018

Sammie Vance, a 10-year-old fourth-grader, didn’t expect that her efforts to earn a Buddy Bench for her Fort Wayne school would lead her to Staten Island in New York.

There, students at the Academy of St. Dorothy were inspired by Sammie’s project to foster friendship on playgrounds. They collected plastic bottle caps for their own Buddy Bench, but they hit a logistics snag : how would they get 650 pounds of caps to an Evansville company that creates the seats?

UPS stepped in with its fifth annual Wishes Delivered campaign.

The initiative spreads goodwill by fulfilling a few wishes : four, this year : in communities UPS serves. The company helped the Staten Island students complete their Buddy Bench project and invited Sammie to help with the delivery.

The experience : which included Sammie riding in a UPS truck and cheers upon her arrival at the school : is highlighted in a nearly 3-minute video. The video can be viewed at www.ups.com/wishesdelivered along with others.

Each time a Wishes Delivered video is shared on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, UPS will donate 100,000 : to one of three charities: The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, The Salvation Army or the Toys for Tots Literacy Program. Use the hashtag #wishesdelivered when sharing on social media.

“Every package we deliver during the holiday season begins with a wish,” Kevin Warren, chief marketing officer for UPS, said in a news release announcing this year’s campaign.

“It’s a humbling and gratifying experience to see the real impact of these granted wishes and share these stories of compassion and friendship. UPS Wishes Delivered helps us all remember what this season is really all about.”

Sammie, who had previously Skyped with the school, enjoyed visiting the Academy of St. Dorothy.

“It was just really fun to be there,” she said.

Sammie’s happy the Buddy Bench effort is growing but is surprised by the reaction she has received.

Her mother, Heidi Vance, agreed, noting the comments from people nationwide and worldwide amaze her.

“I never would have thought this would have gone this far,” said Sammie, who attends Haley Elementary School.



• Registration is open for a Jan. 24 breakfast planned as part of Indiana Tech’s celebrations in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The Rev. Jamie Washington will give the keynote address, “Advancing the Dream: A Call to Inclusive Action.”

The event is free, but seats are limited and pre-registration is required. Go to www.diversity.indianatech.edu/mlk-celebration or call the university’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion at 260-422-5561, ext. 2109.

Washington also will lead facilitated dialogue on diversity and inclusion with students, faculty and staff members Jan. 23 and 24.

Law school help

• Applications are available for the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity program, or ICLEO, designed to assist traditionally underrepresented groups in pursuing a legal career. Applications are available at www.courts.in.gov/cleo and due by March 1.

ICLEO is a preparatory institute which participants attend the summer before law school. This year, it will be held at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. Students who successfully complete the summer institute may be eligible for a fellowship award for up to three years.

The award is currently $4,500 per semester. Email staff attorney Carlton Martin at icleo@courts.in.gov with questions.

Saint Elizabeth

• Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School recently hosted the Indianapolis Colts’ official mascot, Blue. Troy Mock, the person behind the costume, shared his mascot journey with the students. He uses his role to promote an anti-bullying message, inspiring students to put an end bullying and to choose love. He challenges students to be themselves and connect with those around them.

Students were receptive to his talk. “I want to take off my mask and always try to be myself,” seventh-grader Ella Bock said. “It was an awesome message Blue shared with us. It was a great reminder that we’re all in this life together, so we should act like it.”

Scholarships, recognitions

• Questa Education Foundation has a new partnership with AWS Foundation to provide a fully forgivable loan for students pursuing their first licensure, certification or degree in special education. Initial funding will be available for the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 academic years. Scholars may receive up to $5,000 a year as they complete their certificate or licensure.

The loans are open to students from Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Fulton, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Miami, Noble, Steuben, Whitley, Wabash and Wells counties. To receive full forgiveness on the Questa loan, recipients must live and work in one of these counties and work in special education for five years upon graduation.

Applications are due March 1. For information, Go to www.questafoundation.org or call 260-407-6494.

• Trine University seniors Zachary Shepard of Angola and Landon Pearson of Churubusco were recognized as 2018 Steel Intern Scholars in a recent edition of the magazine for the Association for Iron & Steel Technology. Both are mechanical engineering majors. They also received scholarships from the Northern Indiana chapter of the American Foundry Society at its Nov. 12 meeting in Warsaw.

• Teams from Granger, a community near South Bend, earned top honors at the 19th Indiana First Lego League Robotic Championship, held Dec. 8 at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Both groups advance to the Razorback Invitational in Arkansas in May.

• Alex Plastow of Warsaw and Marisa Robinett of Auburn were among award recipients at Trine University’s STEM Research and Design Symposium held Dec. 7 in the Jim and Joan Bock Center for Innovation and Biomedical Engineering. The event featured 43 student projects by more than 85 students.

Plastow received an honorable mention, and Robinett got a People’s Choice award. Both worked with a classmate on their projects.


• The Trine University community is mourning the death of Craig Laker, considered by many to be the father of criminal justice at the college. Laker, 54, died Dec. 6 following a lengthy battle with brain cancer.

He joined Trine in 1999 and served such roles as an associate professor, a department chair and dean. He was awarded professor emeritus rank in October.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email asloboda@jg.net.

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email asloboda@jg.net at least two weeks before the desired publication date.

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