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

  • 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....

  • New Fitness Class: SalsaTone

    2014.11.01
     @ Latin Moves Dance Studio

    Starting November 1st ~ Every Saturday morning 10 to 11 AM Instructor: Melissa Lopez Start your weekend off right with this exciting cardio...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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,...

  • 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...

  • 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....

  • Lynne Scalo Design Opening

    2014.11.05

    Please join Lynne Scalo, Greenwich Magazine and athome Magazine to celebrate the Greenwich showroom opening of Lynne Scalo Design Cocktails...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show

    2014.11.06
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Breast Cancer Alliance to Host Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure 19th Annual Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show: November 6,...

  • Free Screening of Documentary ' Children of the Inquisition'

    2014.11.06
     @ Bush-Holley House

    Join filmmaker Joseph Lovett as he presents his documentary film and multi-platform project of personal exploration and...

  • P.A.L.S. 2nd Annual Soarin' Soiree~ November 7, 2014

    2014.11.07
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    You are invited to join our State Senator, L. Scott Frantz and our First Selectman, Peter J. Tesei, for an awe-inspiring evening to benefit Patient...

  • John Hardy Event

    2014.11.08
     @ Bloomingdale's

    John Hardy One of a kind. One at a time. Each by hand. Bloomingdale's is inviting YOU to meet the head designer Guy Bedarida as he presents...

  • Olivine Gabbro Opening

    2014.11.08

    Olivine Gabbro invites you to join them for their Opening Party! DJ | Cocktails | H'Orderves | Gift Bags Made to Measure Beautifully...

  • Meet Joshua Safran, Author of "Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid"

    2014.11.11
     @ YWCA Greenwich

    Meet the author of this powerful memoir. Joshua Safran is an author, attorney, occasional rabbi, and nationally recognized advocate for...

  • Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It

    2014.11.13
     @ Belle Haven Club

    Join us as Interior Designer Markham Roberts shares coveted design insights, key to creating the perfect home. The program will include...

  • AGAPANTHUS RISING

    2014.11.18
     @ Greenwich Water Club

    Like the Agapanthus flower, which starts as just a seed, we all have something to share with the world.  Sadly, we don't always nurture...

  • The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

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  • Junior League of Greenwich The Enchanted Forest

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