Bolles Buddies Bingo Bash

Bolles and NFSSE students together again
Bolles Buddies Bingo Bash


Leah Collins finally fills her bingo card and walks like royalty to the prize table—the prize, a Bolles journal. 

Collins is a student at the North Florida School for Special Education. Even though the bingo tournament fills the air with hope, apprehension, and suspense, any one of the players will tell you that the game isn’t the most exciting part.

It’s the first Thursday of the month, which means the Bolles Buddies have arrived at NFSSE. 

The Bolles Buddies program has been bringing bingo nights, karaoke, trivia, and more to the students of NFSSE for almost 20 years. Each month, student volunteers, many of whom are members of the Bolles Buddies Club, drive out to Regency to spend the evening bringing smiles to the secondary and transition students. 

“It’s a great experience, you make a lot of friends but you also have the joy of making kids happy and confident,” says senior Magnolia Fox. 

This month’s activity was Valentine’s Day-themed, complete with red and pink decorations, Valentine’s trivia, bingo, and basketball. The program strives to spread love and joy, and so close to Valentine’s Day, those values were boundless.  

For some volunteers, the February event was their first. But for most, they recognized the smiling faces of the students immediately. The students from both schools have formed a bond throughout the years, but the bond began with the former director of the NFSSE, Sally Hazelip. 

Hazelip’s two daughters graduated from the Bolles upper school in 2008 and 2009. Hazelip also has a son who has Down’s Syndrome. Her two daughters founded the Bolles Buddies program with the intent of bridging the two schools and introducing the Bolles students to the special needs population. 

Hazelip and Cynithia Harcrow, the current Bolles Buddies Club sponsor, met through their children almost twenty years ago. This inspired Harcrow to take on the position of club sponsor. The 2023-2024 school year marks her eighteenth year as sponsor. Although Harcrow has attended many events, her favorite remains the December Holiday event.   

“My favorite activity throughout the years has always been the gingerbread making competition. It’s the messiest, and oh my gosh, they eat half the candy, but it’s so fun and it is definitely a crowd favorite,” says Harcrow. 

Current club president, Darden Brown, also shares a personal connection to the NFSSE. 

“My brother goes to this school, he’s fifteen now,” says Brown, “and I have been going with the club since my freshman year. The best part is seeing the kids realize that they’re just normal kids and seeing the impact on them.” 

The next Bolles Buddies event will be held on March 7. The theme will be St. Patrick’s Day featuring Irish dancing! The club encourages everyone to come and participate. 

About the Contributor
Isabel Schimpff
Isabel Schimpff, Coffeehouse Editor
Isabel Schimpff is a junior, third-year staffer and this year's Coffeehouse editor. She enjoys traveling with CISV, going to the ceramics studio, and getting ice cream with her friends. Her goal for this year is to get ahead of her deadlines and is proud of her interview skills. A fun fact about Isabel is that her favorite animal is a platypus.