Students become 'Buddies' at Barrington Middle School

Program fosters community spirit at middle school

By Josh Bickford
Posted 2/21/20

Gavin Robins was excited to start sewing. 

The seventh-grader at Barrington Middle School had a special plan for his hat. He wanted to sew the pom pom onto the back of the knit cap, not the …

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Students become 'Buddies' at Barrington Middle School

Program fosters community spirit at middle school

Posted

Gavin Robins was excited to start sewing. 

The seventh-grader at Barrington Middle School had a special plan for his hat. He wanted to sew the pom pom onto the back of the knit cap, not the top.

The pom pom project, titled "Hats for Hasbro", was the fourth project this year offered through the BMS Buddies program — a special group that brings students together. Some of the students have disabilities or autism and some do not.

Gavin has enjoyed his involvement with BMS Buddies. 

"I feel like it can help many kids socialize in a good way and an interactive way," he said. "I feel like it can help a lot of people have fun."

BMS Buddies began about two and a half years ago, said Cami DiMarco, a teacher at the middle school. She said there is a very committed group of people running the program.

"It's been a great team — one of the best teams ever," she said. "It consists of three guidance counselors, our occupational therapist, our speech pathologist and myself."

Recently, the new middle school assistant principal joined the team. Rebecca Silveira helped iron all the letters on the front of the hats, spelling out words such as "Hope" and "Warrior" and "Beautiful". 

Eighth-grader Ella Phillips also played a key role in the project — she helped create the pom poms.

"I did a lot of tying through them," she said. "It wasn't too hard."

Ella said she really enjoys her time with BMS Buddies. 

"I am a big fan," she said. 

Alex Hope, an eighth-grader, has been part of BMS Buddies since she was in the sixth grade. She has known many of the other students in the program since the first grade when they attended Sowams School together. 

She said it's nice to be able to escape the stress of the school day for 45 minutes and just have fun.

"I think it's nice, we all hang out together and no one's mean," she said. 

Barrington Middle School Principal Andy Anderson is a strong supporter of BMS Buddies. 

"Actually, when I was a student at the high school, I did their peer buddy program," Dr. Anderson said. "I would actually take the students to the YMCA and swim with them."

Dr. Anderson said Ms. DiMarco was running the program when he was a student too.

Officials decided to re-kindle the program about two-and-a-half years ago, when the current eighth-graders were beginning their sixth grade year. Dr. Anderson said the program has shown to help students build strong bonds with one another, even when they're not involved in a BMS Buddies activity. 

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