Chris Pieper, son Chad and daughter Sara (standing, from left) and grandson Oliver (seated far left) were on hand Wednesday at Armstrong’s Highland Park Elementary, along with the school’s leadership group, for the unveiling of the Anita Pieper Buddy Bench, erected in memory of Pieper’s late wife, a beloved education assistant in the North Okanagan Shuswap School District. Three benches have been installed at Highland Park, Armstrong Elementary and Len Wood Middle School. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Chris Pieper, son Chad and daughter Sara (standing, from left) and grandson Oliver (seated far left) were on hand Wednesday at Armstrong’s Highland Park Elementary, along with the school’s leadership group, for the unveiling of the Anita Pieper Buddy Bench, erected in memory of Pieper’s late wife, a beloved education assistant in the North Okanagan Shuswap School District. Three benches have been installed at Highland Park, Armstrong Elementary and Len Wood Middle School. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Pieper’s legacy honoured in Armstrong ‘buddy benches’

Three benches erected at Armstrong schools in memory of beloved education assistant Anita Pieper

Anita Pieper was everybody’s buddy.

The beloved certified education assistant (CEA) in Armstrong, who died suddenly in October 2018, is being remembered in the community with the installation of ‘Buddy Benches.’

Three have been erected in her hometown at Len Wood Middle School, Armstrong Elementary and the third was installed Wednesday morning with a special ceremony at Highland Park Elementary.

“We are here today to honour Anita’s legacy which includes her smile, her kind heart and the importance she placed on friendship,” said Jennifer Findlay, district vice-principal for School District No. 83 North Okanagan-Shuswap.

Findlay was joined at the school-wide assembly by Shuswap Middle School (Salmon Arm) principal Wendy Woodhurst and CEA Sandi Nicholson. The trio first met Pieper and worked with her 20 years ago when all were at Len Wood Middle School.

“Anita had such a full heart with the love she had for her family, which she talked about endlessly, her love for the schools, the staffs and their families, but she had a special place in her heart for kids who were having a tough time at school, whether it was a bad day, or those who needed extra learning or extra learning on how to be a good friend.”

The Buddy Bench idea came from a trip Pieper took with her husband, Chris, to Grande Prairie to visit their son, Jeff. The Pieper’s grandson sat alone on the bench during a school day and a student came and talked to him. Another student was sitting on the bench later, and the Pieper’s grandson went and chatted with him and became a friend.

“We are honoured to be here today,” said Chris Pieper, Armstrong’s Mayor, joined at Wednesday’s ceremony by two of his kids, Chad and Sara, and two grandchildren.“You have no idea how this makes us feel, to be able to participate in this.”

As explained by Woodhurst, there are three rules to the Buddy Bench for students:

• If you’re looking for someone to play with or a friend, please sit on Anita’s bench;

• If you see someone sitting on the bench, talk to them and invite them to play;

• If you’re sitting on the bench and someone invites you to play, say “yes.”

“We hope students become better people because of the bench, as that’s what Anita did to us; she made us better people,” said Woodhurst.

The goal is to install a Buddy Bench in each elementary-middle school in the district, 18 in total.

The Armstrong Kin Club, Shepherd’s Home Hardware and Leko Precast helped sponsor the first three benches, as did donations made to the Anita Pieper Memorial Fund.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Pieper’s legacy honoured in Armstrong ‘buddy benches’

Pieper’s legacy honoured in Armstrong ‘buddy benches’

Just Posted

Tanya (Erin Ormond), Donna (Stephanie Roth, and Rosie (Jenni Burke), laugh together in this scene from a rehearsal of ‘Mamma Mia!’ at the Chemainus Theatre. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)
BOOMER TALK: Laughter is the best medicine

Vernon columnist Carole Fawcett reminds us all to enjoy the funny things in life, it’s good for us

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo will discuss concerns and goals the City of Armstrong has at a special meeting with council Thursday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m. (Black Press - file photo)
Shuswap MLA to hear Armstrong concerns, goals

Greg Kyllo of the opposition Liberals will meet with Armstrong council Thursday, Jan. 28

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID-19: Two more deaths at Vernon’s Noric House

Total deaths climb to 17 at local long-term care outbreaks

The Rice Box owner On Ouchs (right) is joined by special guest Driver Dispatcher delivery person Spiderman for a recent shift. Ouchs’ phone app creation, Driver Dispatcher, will be raising money for mental health Saturday, Jan. 30. (Facebook photo)
Vernon phone app helps mental health

Driver Dispatcher will donate $5 from every delivery Saturday, Jan. 30, to supporting mental health

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read