Bright Future: Student ‘can’ help kids

Published 12:07 am Thursday, September 15, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Cathedral Middle School’s Grayson Bryant constructs a bracelet in the school library. Bryant has raised more than $200 for St. Jude’s with her popular soda tab bracelets.

NATCHEZ — Grayson Bryant will probably never view a can of soda the same way again.

This summer the Cathedral Middle School seventh grader was inspired to make cool bracelets out of soda can tabs after her grandmother brought her one from a trip to Honduras.

“Everyone came up to me and told me how cool it was,” Bryant said. “I looked at it and thought, ‘it can’t be that hard.’ So over the summer I learned how to make them.”

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Bryant sells the bracelets for $4 each, and she is contributing all of her profits to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Cathedral Middle School’s Grayson Bryant constructs and sells bracelets made out of soda can tabs in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

St. Jude’s provides pediatric cancer treatment where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance.

“I knew St. Jude’s already collected tabs, but for just so many cents a piece,” Bryant said. “I thought it would be cool to make these bracelets and sell them for more money.”

Bryant said the bracelets were a hit with students right away. The trendsetter said with the help of her history teacher, Mike Durr, she was able to set up her charity.

Durr takes orders, only from middle school students right now, for the bracelets. He compiles the orders in a database and gives Bryant a printout before she leaves for the day. He also collects and keeps the money in a safe place.

Bryant said she has sold between 50 and 60 bracelets so far. While she keeps her technique a secret from friends, she did train her mother to help her make the popular jewelry.

“One night we had to make 24 bracelets,” Bryant said. “We were up pretty late, so she made the rest. I had to go to bed.”

Bryant spends between 10 and 15 minutes making a bracelet out of two materials — elastic string and a heaping scoop of tabs. To add a little flair to the project, Bryant affixes a colored soda can tab to each bracelet. Right now, the student is using green to promote the Green Wave spirit. But the colored tabs are not as plentiful.

“Sprite has the green ones,” Bryant said. “My dad works at the country club, so he saves them for me. People also sit them by me at lunch, so I’ll end up with one or two.”

Bryant said she can make special bracelets with customized colors, but that costs extra.

Bryant said making the bracelets is mostly a relaxing activity — she likes to watch TV while she works — but sometimes the pace of business catches up with her a little bit.

“It can get nerve-wracking, knowing how many you have to make,” Bryant said. “I don’t want to only bring half the orders to school.”

If the bracelets are too big, Bryant said they can simply be squeezed together to make them smaller. For bigger wrists, she adds a few extra tabs.

“People like them because they are different from any other bracelet,” Bryant said.

Bryant, who loves math, said one day she aspires to be a doctor of obstetrics. She is the daughter of Tom and Priss Bryant.