Two Eagle Scout projects that benefited the students and the school were completed recently at Coral Reef Elementary (CRE) in Palmetto Bay. Both, former students of CRE, received proclamations from the village the end of April.
One Scout, Raymond Deluca, and his troop came to the school with four pre-built “Buddy Benches” which they installed in various areas on the school grounds. The benches have a plaque which reads “Be a Friend — Make a Friend” to encourage students to connect with a new friend while at recess or any outside activity.
Mayor Karyn Cunningham was impressed with the work they did.
“Raymond’s troop also completely replaced the Friendship Rock Garden, which centers around our Peace Garden,” Mayor Cunningham said. “Raymond and his family are a great inspiration and we were so happy to have him give back to his alma mater.”
Deluca said, “I’m glad I was able to have a positive effect on the community.”
Scout Brandon Almond did work to restore and beautify the butterfly garden as part of his Eagle Scout project. He not only restored the butterfly garden with new plants, an arbor, and new mulch, he also purchased a new metal storage container for PE equipment, after realizing the poor condition of the existing one.
“We are so grateful for the work he did, both projects have made such an improvement to our school,” Mayor Cunningham said.
“I was very proud to give back to such an important place in our community,” Almond said. “I believe it will help improve the children’s learning environment for years to come.”
Coral Reef Elementary principal Cristina Guerra was very pleased with the projects.
“Coral Reef Elementary is so fortunate to have had students who have made it their mission to give back to their elementary school through their Eagle Scout projects,” Guerra said. “Hurricane Irma destroyed our butterfly garden last year. Brandon Almond understands how much our teachers and students enjoy spending time in the garden and recreated the garden in time for our annual Earth Day Celebration and Ladybug Release.”
For years Coral Reef Elementary has been trying to implement a Buddy Bench program. This program would enhance the student culture at school as students who were in need of a buddy would be able to go to the Buddy Bench where other classmates who saw them would invite them to participate in an activity with them, thus making them feel included. Deluca felt very strongly about having all students feel included and requested to have not one Buddy Bench but four built and installed throughout the campus.
“I am very excited to say that now a feeling of inclusivity is evident on our campus,” he said.