Jaffrey students urge community: ‘Bee Nice’

  • Jaffrey Grade School students paint benches as part of the 2020 MLK National Day of Service project. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Jaffrey Grade School students paint benches as part of the 2020 MLK National Day of Service project. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Jaffrey Grade School students paint benches as part of the 2020 MLK National Day of Service project. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Jaffrey Grade School students paint benches as part of the 2020 MLK National Day of Service project. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Published: 11/26/2019 2:21:54 PM

Jaffrey Grade School fifth graders finished up painting a bench Friday as part of the 2020 MLK National Day of Service project.

The bench was built by Conant High School Building Trades students.

The project grew out of the theme, “Our Beloved Community,” chosen for Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr 2020. “The Beloved Community is central to Dr. King’s philosophy, and nurturing it guided his actions,” Jaffrey-Rindge MLK Committee Chair Peggy Ueda said. “Dr. King believed a loving, inclusive community, characterized by respect, cooperation and nonviolent conflict resolution, was achievable.”

Inspired by this theme, the Committee chose for a National Day of Service project a hands-on activity that community members could do for their own communities that would also facilitate connections. Benches will be thematically painted with community-spirited messages and will allow people to sit together and interact.

“We also felt they would serve as a positive, benevolent response to anti-social vandalism in some of our parks,” Ueda added.

The benches are based on a design by Aldo Leopold, a seminal early 20th century conservationist often referred to as the father of the American wilderness system. He designed a simple bench that could be used in both directions – sitting backwards allows a person to rest elbows on the seat back to steady a camera or binoculars for viewing wildlife.

“The students were doing a unit on kindness, so this project fit in perfectly,” JGS art teacher Mary Giandalone explained. “The students came up with the bee motif and phrases, sketched out the words and drawings and painted them in. It’s a great project for working together and putting their kindness theme into practice.”

Many community members are participating in the National Day of Service project. The Community Center of Jaffrey provided funds for the materials, Belletetes donated the lumber cuts and Wright Painting donated exterior paints. Builders and painters include Conant building trades classes and Conant, JRMS and Jaffrey Grade School art classes, Rindge Recreation After-School Program, Rindge Conservation Commission, the Hawlk family, the St. Patrick’s Home School Group, Josh Stedman of Wright Painting and the Jaffrey-Rindge MLK Committee. The benches will be presented at Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr on Jan. 20, 2020, 5 to 6 p.m., United Church of Jaffrey, 54 Main St.

For more information about the bench project or Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. or to join the Committee, contact jaffreyrindgemlk@gmail.com or visit MLK Celebration Jaffrey-Rindge on Facebook.


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