Family Tribute Helps Kids Make Friends

Marc Talbert and Principal Tara Mays celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new "Buddy Bench" at DeGolyer Elementary School. (Photo: Gretchen Crichton
Marc Talbert and Principal Tara Mays celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new “Buddy Bench” at DeGolyer Elementary School. (Photo: Gretchen Crichton)

Marc and Kyle Talbert wanted to honor their parents’ memory in a special way. After all, Henry and Bodie Talbert were very involved while their two sons attended DeGolyer Elementary in the 1960s and 1970s.

When Bodie passed away in 2007, the brothers approached the school about donating a gift while they were in Dallas. But with both siblings living out of state at the time, the project eventually fell to the wayside.

Now, with Marc back in Preston Hollow, the brothers’ interest in the project sparked again. But what kind of gift they ended up sponsoring was something better than either of them had imagined. 

“We had initially thought to plant a tree or something,” Marc Talbert said. “We just wanted to do something to help the school.” 

That’s when the DeGolyer third-graders stepped in and came up with something quite different: a “Buddy Bench,” where students could go to find a friend or a playmate. 

Marc Talbert (far left), Kyle Talbert (second from right), and their father, Henry Talbert (back row), take part in DeGolyer’s traditional touch-football game.

“Boy, it turned out to be a whole lot more than we thought,” Talbert said. 

In order to properly honor the school, the school got PTA president Donna Marquet to build and decorate the bench. 

To incorporate a bit of school history, the kids wanted to have the old mascot — a pilot — mixed together with the new mascot — a dolphin.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know how to put a dolphin in a plane,” she joked.

But sketches shortly followed that captured the kids’ vision. “It was really all them.” 

Together, Marquet and her husband have theater-design and carpentry experience, so the project was a perfect fit. After attending a few student council meetings and strategizing with principal Tara Mays, the plans were underway and the bench became reality.

But to Marquet, the meaning behind the bench is worth much more.

“We’re always anti-bully, but I like that this is pro-buddy,” she said of the project’s positive element. “You can step up and make a difference if someone is having a bad day.”

The school dedicated the bench, along with a plaque in Henry and Bodie’s honor, on May 29 following a touch-football game, which is a tradition with the school.

“They would love it,” Marc Talbert said of his late parents. “They were very unassuming people and wouldn’t want the attention to be drawn to them, but anything that was developed by the kids at the school would make them very happy.”

This story appears in the July issue of Preston Hollow People, on stands now.

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