‘Stop Bullying’ benches earns Fishers Girl Scout top award, and life lesson

A Fishers High School student earned a top Girl Scout award for a project to curb bullying with benches. (WISH Photo)

FISHERS, Ind (WISH) – A Hamilton Southeastern Schools (HSE) student earned a major award after she found a way to fight bullying through benches.

For years, avoiding attention is the way Katelynn Buchan enjoyed life.

Fishers High School student, Katelynn Buchan, sits with WISH-TV’s Nick Natario on one of her stop bullying benches at Fishers High School. (Courtesy: Nick Natario)

“I was that kid in the back of the class that didn’t have a voice,” Buchan said.

That all changed thanks to what she’s sitting on. “I am more upfront, and I’ll tell you how I feel, and where years ago I would never do that,” Buchan said.

This confidence comes from a Girl Scouts project. For 10 years, she earned more than 300 badges, but over the past few months she’s strived higher.

“I didn’t think I would actually earn it,” Buchan said.

Here’s a look at some of the badges Katelynn Buchan has earned during her 10 years in the Girl Scouts. (Courtesy: Katelynn Buchan)

Buchan received the Girl Scout’s gold award, the highest honor one can earn. The central Indiana branch said In 2016, only 49 central Indiana Girl Scouts earned the award.

To get it, scouts must complete seven things, including identifying an issue, creating a plan, taking action and educating. Her plan, add anti-bullying benches to each HSE school she went too.

She said she was never bullied, but has seen it happen. Each school bench has its own purpose.

She has benches at New Britton Elementary, Riverside Elementary and Fishers High School.

“Once kids are feeling bullied at school, they’ll go and sit on the bench and hopefully a person will be friends with them,” Buchan said.

“To realize that bullying is not okay,” she said.

“The two here at Fishers High School are to raise awareness,” Buchan said.

In order to get the benches she had to raise money. She held fundraisers, and went door-to-door to different businesses collecting cash. She raised more than $5,000 which allowed her to get five benches instead of one.

“It was nice to get that support from the community,” Buchan said. It’s a purple bench Katelynn knows will help students, because it’s already impacted her life.

Katelynn Buchan stands with some of the Girl Scout badges she’s earned. The member recently received the Girl Scout’s highest award for her anti-bullying benches. (Courtesy: Katelynn Buchan)

“I didn’t really believe in myself that I would do that, but now that I’ve done it, I’m glad that that’s happened to me before, and I’m ready to face the world,” Buchan said.

Buchan plans to add the fifth bench to Riverside Immediate School soon. She’ll be attending Hanover College in the fall.

The Girl Scout recognition could help. Recipients can receive college scholarship.

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