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Bronxville Students 'Build Bridges, Not Walls," Win Grant Money

Bronxville Middle School students Kelly Weild and Esther Thomet were awarded for their creativity.
Bronxville Middle School students Kelly Weild and Esther Thomet were awarded for their creativity. Photo Credit: Bronxville Schools

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – A pair of enterprising Bronxville middle school students have earned grants for their local school district for their ability to think outside of the box.

Middle school students Kelly Weild and Esther Thomet, representing the district as part of the Middle School Organization Student Government, earned $1,000 grants at a Social Innovation Series conference sponsored by AdCapYouth this month.

The duo impressed a panel of judges from AdCapYouth – an organization that awards grants for student-generated programs throughout the year – with their project, “Building Bridges, Not Walls,” which focused on providing necessary emotional and mental support for students, not physical health like their peers.

“Everyone else’s projects were about physical health,” Weild said, noting that their competitors were looking to lock down the grant money to purchase things that are already staples in Bronxville, such as water fountains and gym equipment.

“Those things are important if you don’t have them, but we wanted something more than that. We were focused on mental and emotional health, and that’s what I think set us apart.”

With the grant money secured, Bronxville’s dynamic duo is planning to organize school-wide assemblies, where students will have the opportunity to “discuss and embrace social differences in order to enhance all students’ overall well-being,” according to Middle School Organization advisor Michael Marino.

“(Weild and Thomet) represented everything that the Middle School Organization believes in,” he said. “(They) represented the Bronxville School in a way where I couldn’t be more proud as their mentor and advisor.”

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