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

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Isaia Fall Trunk Show

    2014.09.19
     @ Richards

  • 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...

  • SoulCycle GWCH for Make-A-Wish CT

    2014.09.20
     @ SoulCycle

    Make-A-Wish Connecticut is thrilled to be partnering with SoulCycle's Greenwich location for a charity ride on Saturday, September 20th!...

  • Wall Street Tennis Challenge

    2014.09.20
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    The goal of The Wall Street Tennis Challenge is to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts while spreading awareness...

  • Nam Cho Trunk Show

    2014.09.20
     @ Richards

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • 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!...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

    Meet Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese & Take Home a Signed Copy of His New Book! Kevin is a holistic health practitioner,...

  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...


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