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

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • The Food Network Open Casting Call for Home Cooks

    2014.10.25
     @ My Cooking Party

    FOOD NETWORK’S TOP CELEBRITY CHEFS ARE SCOURING THE NATION IN SEARCH OF AMAZING HOME COOKS! You’ve watched them on TV, bought their...

  • YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week

    2014.10.18
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week October 18 - 26, 2014 Join us for a week-long celebration of local art! Showcasing established and emerging...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Greenwich Hospital Gala

    2014.10.25
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    It will be a Gala worthy of a doge when retiring Greenwich Hospital president and CEO, Frank A. Corvino, will be presented with the...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • The Wilton Fall Antiques Market

    2014.10.26
     @ Wilton High School Field House

    Barnstar Productions and the Wilton Historical Society will present the Wilton Antiques Market. More than 80 exhibitors are expected to...

  • Trunk-or-Treat For UNICEF

    2014.10.26
     @ Island Beach Parking Lot

    U.S Fund for UNICEF Greenwich Committee invites you to the 1st annual Trunk-or-Treat for UNICEF Join friends and neighbors for an afternoon of...

  • La Soirée d’ Automne at Bistro Versailles

    2014.10.27
     @ Bistro Versailles and Patisserie

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other attendees...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Explore the Bruce Museum

    2014.10.28
     @ Stamford JCC

    Join us at the Bruce Museum for a private tour of the inaugural showing in the U.S. of “Northern Baroque Splendor: The Hohenbuchau Collection...

  • Educational Seminar - Effective Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills

    2014.10.29
     @ Greenwich Library

    Are you sure you are putting your best foot forward in your job hunt?  What will make employers pick your resume and ask you for an interview?...

  • Meet Bestselling Author Ayelet Waldman

    2014.10.30
     @ Organic Planet

    On October 30 at 10am, JCC Greenwich will present New York Times bestselling author Ayelet Waldman, who will discuss her latest novel Love and...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Harvest Fair and Gift Show

    2014.11.01
     @ Second Congregational Church

    Event Will Include Hay Mazes, Games, Crafts, Food, Holiday Shopping The community is invited to a Harvest Fair and Gift Show on Saturday, Nov....


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Henry & Me
    Greenwich
  2. B2B Blast Off Event
    Greenwich
  3. Go For Pink
    Greenwich Avenue
  4. Joie Shopping Event
    Joie Greenwich
  5. GRTA Hunt Ball Patron Party
    Conyers Farms