Friendship Bench to Honor Mrs. Spry

When someone retires from a school they leave behind the students, the staff, their classroom, and in Cathy Spry’s case, the playground. Spry worked for Elkhart Community schools at Monger Elementary for 21 years. In those 21 years, she made an impact on many students lives.

“Mrs. Spry had a passion for the playground. She always made sure the kids had jump ropes, balls and anything else they needed,”  explained Jessica Moreno, sixth grade teacher at Monger.

Spry was also in charge of recess and the outdoor activities and fun that came with it. Trevor Covert, fourth grade student at Monger, remembers Mrs. Spry very well, especially from recess. “She was a lot of fun on the playground, I even got to sneak up and scare her a few times.”

When the Social Committee, a group of teachers who organize staff events and activities, gathered and discussed the retirement of Spry, they knew they had to do something special, for the kids, and for the great memories they had of Mrs. Spry’s years of service. Moreno had a project in mind. She had heard of a program called ABC Promise, a partnership with Green Tree Plastics out of Evansville, IN. The goal will be to collect and turn in enough plastic bottle caps to have a friendship bench made.

The ABC Promise program requires students to participate every step of the way. Student involvement includes collecting, sorting, cleaning, and weighing the bottle caps. Excitement from by the Student Council is very clear in their very precise and meticulous approach to heading up this task. “They are excited about the process but even more excited to see the bench on their playground,” said Moreno.

Fourth grade student Hayden Dineheart has known Mrs. Spry since Kindergarten. Being part of the student council, she has had a large part in the sorting and cleaning process. One of the tasks is following a chart that relays which plastics are acceptable and which are not, some of which must simply be thrown away. “Cleaning is not the fun part but Mrs. Spry will be missed and it is a fun project to do for her,” said Dineheart.

Many kids have gone a step beyond their duties, getting friends and family to help collect and donate to the cause. “It feels really good to be able to help, even my mom’s work is pitching in!” said Covert.

Monger students have a goal of 200 pounds of bottle caps to have a four foot bench built. So far they have a total of 125 pounds in their first month. Moreno will deliver the bottle caps and other plastics to Green Tree Plastics in which they will recycle them and turn them into a bench for the playground.

Way to go Monger Mustangs, your PRIDE is showing through!

Thank you, Cathy Spry, for your 21 years of spreading kindness to the children at Monger Elementary School.