Kindness Path installed

From left, Jackson Hallenbeck, Colton Bobowski, Finley Hallenbeck, Lucy Hallenbeck, Olivia Gargiulo and Connor Hallenbeck on Friday sit on the Buddy Bench donated to Kingsborough Elementary School by the Cubby Faville Memorial Fund. The bench is at the end of the school’s new kindness path featuring stones hand-painted by students and surrounding a tree planted in memory of teacher Maria Hallenbeck, family friend of Bobowski and grandmother to the other children. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Students at Kingsborough Elementary School provided their artistic talents during a schoolwide art project this spring, with the final results installed in a new kindness path at the school aimed at sparking joy and inspiring students and community members to be kind.

Kingsborough Elementary School Principal Trisha Bobowski on Friday took in the new kindness path installed near the school playground by the Gloversville Enlarged School District buildings and grounds staff.

The kindness path is a winding concrete sidewalk inlaid with stones hand-painted by each of the students at Kingsborough this past spring. The stones are bright reminders to spread kindness wherever you go. Kindness paths are popping up at schools around the country and Bobowski said Kingsborough’s path is a first for GESD.

Prior to their installation Bobowski and her family, with the help of community volunteers, coated the painted stones with a sealant to preserve the designs for years to come during the citywide community service oriented event, 100 in 1 Day on May 4. The walkway was installed after the end of the school year over the past few weeks.

“It’s nice, because the students get to come out and see their artwork,” Bobowski said. “I’d like to actually do this again next year and have the rocks put out in the front where we have our sign and keep doing this with the kids. They seem to really enjoy it.”

The now complete kindness path winds around an eastern redbud sapling that Bobowski and her family planted in memory of former Kingsborough Elementary and Gloversville Middle School teacher Maria Hallenbeck.

Bobowski said Hallenbeck was a longtime family friend who she later worked with at GMS. After she accepted the position of principal at Kingsborough where three of Hallenbeck’s grandchildren are currently enrolled, Bobowski said she and her family sought to plant a tree in Hallenbeck’s memory on the school grounds and thought it fitting to incorporate the tree into the kindness path.

“She was a very sweet lady, the students all loved her, so I figured a kindness tree would be perfect for her,” Bobowski said.

Beyond the memorial tree the kindness path leads to a Buddy Bench intended to foster friendship and eliminate loneliness by encouraging children who are feeling lonely to sit on the bench to be joined by other students and invited to play. The bench was donated by the Cubby Faville Memorial Fund in October and has now been installed at its permanent location at the school.

Bobowski said the kindness path, memorial tree and Buddy Bench should tie together nicely to remind students to be kind to and aware of others, while also serving as a shady place for kids and families to enjoy time together as the tree grows.

“It’s a nice outreach for the community, the kids get to enjoy it, families get to enjoy it and it brings a smile to the kids when they get to see their artwork that will be out here for years,” Bobowski said.

The playground at Kingsborough Elementary School is accessible to the public after school hours on weekdays around 2:30 p.m. and on weekends. Bobowski noted that the school is currently offering a summer enrichment program on Mondays through Thursdays during normal school hours and the playground is therefore not accessible until after 2:30 p.m.

By Josh Bovee

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