Home Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District Cutchogue East Elementary Kaitlyn Doorhy to be honored by PTA with ‘buddy bench’ at Cutchogue...

Kaitlyn Doorhy to be honored by PTA with ‘buddy bench’ at Cutchogue East Elementary

Two months after Kaitlyn Doorhy’s tragic death, her memory lives on, and her legacy of love continues to touch the North Fork community.

To that end, the Mattituck Cutchogue PTA will dedicate “Kaitlyn’s Buddy Bench” in her memory to the children of Cutchogue East Elementary School. The ceremony will take place on Friday, November 7 at 2 p.m. at the playground.

According to the Christian’s Buddy Bench website, “The buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. Let’s spread the message of inclusion and kindness.”

Christian Bucks, a second grader in York, Pennsylvania thought it would be a good idea for his school, Roundtown Elementary, according to the website, to create a bench where friendships could be fostered and loneliness countered. “He knew that there were some kids who felt lonely at recess and he thought this would put an end to that,” the site states.

The concept has spread and sparked a flurry of media attention, spreading an anti-bullying message and instead, encouraging children to show kindness to kids who might be feeling excluded.

“The PTA is honoring Kaitlyn Doorhy and her family for all that they have done for the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District and the community,” an announcement of the event on Facebook read. “The students of Cutchogue East will be encouraged to use Kaitlyn’s Buddy Bench to foster friendships on the playground. The PTA is honored to dedicate this in Kaitlyn’s name.”

Kaitlyn’s memory is shining bright amongt all who loved her, as they gather to remember and celebrate her beautiful life.

Kaitlyn, 20, died in August from injuries sustained after being hit by a car near her college, Sacred Heart University, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

On Saturday, a sea of those who loved the former Mattituck Strawberry Queen flocked to Sacred Heart, where a football game was played in her honor during the school’s Family Weekend.

Wearing pink T-shirts adorned with her name and the words “Forever In Our Hearts,” about 90 friends and family members, as well as members of the Mattituck Lions Club, traveled to watch the game.

Kaitlyn was also honored by her four roommates, who planted a tree in her memory outside the Chapel of the Holy Spirit on the SHU campus. The tree was dedicated during Family Weekend and a plaque was placed nearby before a crowd of Doorhy’s visiting friends and family members.

According to Timothy Bialeski, president of the Mattituck Lions Club, Kaitlyn’s friends were “brought together to celebrate her life. We are inspired by her presence. Even though she is not physically here, we embrace her.”

Kaitlyn’s father Joe opened bottles of champagne, to toast his beautiful girl.

Of the fact that so many turned out for the tribute and game, Bialeski said, “It’s a great feeling. She made today a perfect day, because she knew we were all there.”

Sacred Heart University also announced that the H.W. Wilson Foundation has given $100,000 to Sacred Heart University to establish an endowed scholarship in memory of Kaitlyn, who died just before beginning her junior year after being hit by a motor vehicle while walking to campus.

The scholarship will be given each year to a junior student from Long Island with financial need; it is anticipated that the first award will be given for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Harold Regan, president of the H.W. Wilson Foundation, sayid the board of the foundation was deeply moved by the news of Kaitlyn’s untimely passing. “We pray for Kaitlyn’s family and hope this gesture can add to the many joyful memories of her extraordinary life,” he said.

“We are very grateful to the H.W. Wilson Foundation for this generous gift in Kaitlyn’s memory,” said Judite Vamvakides, director of Annual Giving at SHU. “It will ensure that Kaitlyn is remembered each year and that future students will learn about all that she meant to Sacred Heart.”

Bialeski said Kait’s loss was devastating to the Lions Club. “Kait was so involved with the Lions Club. She and I would always talk about new ideas for the Strawberry Festival; she always had great ideas. And then, to see her come that weekend and help out, serving shortcake or making chocolate-covered strawberries — you never had to ask her to do anything, she would just come and have fun and always have that beautiful smile on her face.”

The Lions Club, Bialeski said, has also honored Kait. Involved with The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, one of the Lions’ “biggest charities”, Bialeski said every year, the club gets to name dogs, based on the amount of funding raised. This year, the Lions Club was able to name three dogs — and named one Kait.

After Saturday’s game, Molly Waitz wrote on the Rest In Peace, Kait Doorhy Facebook page that she created, “Today was for you. Thanks for the beautiful weather. Keep smiling, stay beautiful and shine bright.”