A buddy bench will be installed at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School this spring in honor of former superintendent, Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier, who retired at the end of January after leading the district for 10 years.

The buddy bench is intended to be a place where children can sit if they are lonely or upset to let others know they could use a friend to cheer them up. Adults can also use the buddy bench to create this situation for students who may need a friend. An inscription on the bench reads, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

Dr. Suttmeier was joined by incoming superintendent, Dr. Lisamarie Spindler, when the buddy bench was presented to her at a Board of Education meeting in December.

“It was wonderful having Dr. Spindler present when the Board bestowed the buddy bench,” said Dr. Suttmeier. “It was a symbolic ‘passing of the torch’ from one leadership to another.”

A flowering tree and commemorative plaque will also be placed at MCSES this spring.