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Pioneer Valley High School students hope to make friends at Oakley Elementary School with a “Buddy Bench”.

So what is a “Buddy Bench”?

“Buddy Benches are important to have at schools because it is a safe place for students to go to talk or simply when they want to make new friends,’’ said Family, Careers & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Club President Leah Torres. “The value of doing this project is significant because it is a great way to give back to our community and is something that will leave a positive impact for the students.’’

The dedication for the “Buddy Bench” is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28th at Oakley Elementary School.

Club members and Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher Lisa Crusan held several fundraisers this year to raise the money needed to build, paint and donated the bench. It was built by Lisa’s husband, Rick Crusan.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.