A Club of Hearts

GHS Connections, an anti-bullying club



Elias Frank

On August 27, Greenwich High School sophomore Bartlomiej “Bart” Palosz found a surefire way to end years of bully-induced suffering. At his home in Byram, he shot himself.

That night, Elias Frank, the senior class vice president and a midfielder on the Cardinal soccer team, logged onto the Class of 2014’s Facebook page in a state of anger-tinged sorrow. “I didn’t know him personally, but from what I have heard he was a great kid with a bright future,” Elias wrote. “I don’t want to be in the same school with kids that can cause that much hurt and pain and push someone that far.” Elias advised those guilty of unkindness, even if meant only prankishly, to make amends “before it’s too late and you have to live with your decisions,” as Bart’s tormentors do. And he offered any bullying victim harboring dark thoughts a confidential ear. “Nothing is worth dying over,” he wrote. “It’s just high school.”

The post struck a nerve. Elias realized this the following day, when a student approached and thanked him for speaking out—she herself having survived ruthless bullying. As he listened to her story, it dawned on him that, while Bart’s suicide may have been exceptional, the practice of bullying in its many forms was not. But what if the atmosphere could be changed? What if meanness could be rendered uncool and GHS could serve as a model? Duly inspired, Elias founded GHS Connections, an anti-bullying club whose mission is to make the school a place of “unified acceptance” as well as to provide a community to turn to for those who have been made to feel marginalized.

Bullying does not necessarily mean getting shoved into a locker, Elias points out. Sharp-edged words can cut far deeper, leading to damaged self-esteem and depression. Bart Palosz knew this only too well: “I have chosen to go with three people’s advice and kill myself,” he wrote on social media the month before his death.

GHS Connections seems to have achieved liftoff, with 700 members and a letter from U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, offering his help. “We want to go into the middle schools, where they kind of look at us as role models,” Elias says, naming one of several planned projects. “We want to get to them early, tell them it’s not cool to exclude people, it’s not cool to isolate them.” In the longer term, GHS Connections will try to instigate the creation of similar clubs across the country.

“We can’t change what happened,” Elias says. “But we can change what may happen.”

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • Cool and Collected ‘14

    2014.07.10
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    (Gallery 1) Featuring artists:  Carla Goldberg, Melanie Kozol, Francis Sills, and Eve Stockton Summer exhibition at Kenise Barnes...

  • “Summer Sings!” Wraps up the Season at First Congregational Church of Greenwich

    2014.08.27
     @ First Congregational Church of Greenwich

    Do you miss singing in your church choir during the summer months? Then join ‘Summer Sings!’ at First Congregational Church of...

  • TREEHOUSES: Look Who's Living in the Trees!

    2014.06.21
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Saturday, June 21 - Monday, September 1 Hidden in the leaves, snug in the trunk or burrowed under the roots, what types of animals actually...

  • Exhibit: Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.03
     @ Bruce Museum

    May 3 – August 31, 2014 Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing This exhibition focuses on two of the world’s leading...

  • Wine Time Social Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.27
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    $4.00 select wines, $4.00 well drinks, and $3.00 beers.

  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.26
     @ Morello Italian Bistro

    Refresh yourself with our famous Red & White Sangria! Don’t forget that during happy hour every day 4:30pm-6:30pm your 2nd drink...

  • Happy Hour Beauty Thursdays!

    2014.06.30
     @ ELLELA Cosmetics & Lashes

    Our Summer Happy Hour Beauty Thursdays are back at ELLELA Cosmetics! Hit the top of Greenwich Ave from 4pm to 8pm for the BEST Blowouts before...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Wine Time Social Hour

    2014.08.29
     @ Barcelona Wine Bar

    Fairfield Monday - Friday 3 - 6:30pm $5 select wines, $4 well drinks, $3 beers. 3 for $16 tapas Greenwich Monday - Friday 4 - 7...

  • Seaside Center: Arts and Crafts

    2014.07.18
     @ Seaside Center

    Let your creativity float free! Practice the art of Gyotaku fish prints; make a sundial, a shell wind chime, or fish bowl! Activities vary every...

  • Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.09
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    Each Friday we feature new wines just released and new to market for you to have an opportunity to taste and learn about through our sponsored...

  • Saturday Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    We will feature an array of new and different International wines that are selected by our staff as “Staff Picks Favorites” in...

  • Polo Benefit for Hope

    2014.08.31
     @ Greenwich Polo Club

    For the second year in a row, Virginia's House of Hope is having a fundraiser at the Greenwich Polo Club! Join us on Sunday, August...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Animal Meet and Greet

    2014.06.22
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 22 - August 31, 3:30 - 4:00pm Stop by for a chance to meet one of our Overbrook Nature Center or Heckscher Farm animals up...

  • Bar: Live Music | Greenwich, CT

    2014.03.09
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    Join us in Greenwich every Sunday for live music and half-priced bottles of wine!

  • Exclusive Tour of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery

    2014.09.09
     @ Yale University Art Gallery

    Join JCC Greenwich for an exclusive tour with museum curator Elizabeth Manekin. The collection is noteworthy for exemplary works from the...

  • Understanding the Gaza War: Strategic & Political Implications

    2014.09.09
     @ Greenwich Library, Cole Auditorium

    Dr. Efraim Inbar is a Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and Director of its renowned Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic...

  • Bruce Museum: Look and See - Into the Deep

    2014.09.10
     @ Bruce Museum

    A program especially designed for children ages 3-5 years and their adult caregivers, who will explore the Museum’s exhibition through...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Best of Greenwich
    Delamar Greenwich Harbor
  2. 10 Things Greenwich Teens Can Do This Summer
    One Greenwich teen shares some suggestions for summer fun!
  3. Villa Maria School: Annual Spring Gala
    Richards of Greenwich
  4. Save the Children Benefit
    Riverside Yacht Club
  5. Twelfth Annual New York Smile Event
    Cipriani Wall Street