Southington school receives $10,000 donation in memory of second-grader

Southington school receives $10,000 donation in memory of second-grader


SOUTHINGTON — Thalberg School received a $10,000 donation Friday from a memorial fund established for a former student.

Ben Was Here Inc., a memorial nonprofit set up by Benjamin Buckley’s family, made the donation to buy iPads, interactive games for gym class, books and other school supplies. Cristin Buckley, Ben’s mother and a former Wolcott teacher, said she wanted to provide things that teachers at the school wanted but weren’t in the education budget.

“They all got to buy things they always wanted,” she said.

Benjamin Buckley died of a severe asthma attack in 2014 at age 7 while he was in the second grade at Thalberg. His sister and brother also attended Thalberg.

His mother said Ben didn’t finish his time at Thalberg but his memory is kept alive through donations to every grade.

“We wanted to do something big for the school as a whole,” she said. “They were so supportive when Ben died.”

Buckley contacted teachers and asked them for their wish-list items. The first grade established a lending library, she said. The third grade bought seating arrangements, such as balls, for kids who have trouble sitting still.

“I thought it was so appropriate. Ben could never sit still,” Buckley said.

Some teachers used the money for sponsorships, including education for three children in Haiti and to protect elephants, based on Ben’s brother Adam’s love of animals.

Shortly after Ben’s death, Thalberg School Principal Megan Bennett said classes created memory books or banners and some collected donations that went toward a scholarship fund. She described Ben as a wonderful boy.

Thousands of people reached out online to show support for the family when he died. 203-317-2230 Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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