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Sixth-Grader Finds Solace In Broadway Song Created By Westport Native

Rye 6th grader Daniel Pellegrini conquered bullying with a song from "Dear Evan Hansen." Photo Credit: Submitted
Justin Paul, left, accepting Oscar award for "La La Land." Photo Credit: ABC Screen Grab

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Staples High grad Justin Paul continues to be a winner.

Not only did the Westport native grab an Oscar for "La Land's" ''City of Stars," his tunes from the Broadway show, "Dear Evan Hansen" have struck a chord with an 11-year-old from Rye, N.Y. So much so that that boy, a sixth-grader at Rye Middle School, has gained a newfound sense of confidence.

Daniel Pellegrini, who had been bullied at school, found solace in the song "Waving Through a Window," which he first heard on the radio. The song spoke to him so much, he chose to perform it at the annual "Rye's Got Talent" event Saturday, March 11, at Rye Country Day School.

Though he didn't win, he did win the hearts and minds of the audience who gave him a standing ovation -- along with lots of clapping and waving. Pellegrini's story had been broadcast on CBS News after a friend who is a singing coach heard the story of his struggle and shared it with a CBS Producer.

Now, the Westchester student has turned into a local star. Most importantly, he's reconciled with the students who made him feel bad initially.

Mom Laura said it's been an amazing experience that has taught her son resilience and the power of communication.

Another nice outcome: The family has been contacted by the "Dear Evan Hansen" cast -- they even tweeted him to "break a leg" in the middle of his performance -- and have invited them to see the Broadway show in person.

Go HERE to see the CBS clip.

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