Local students participate in Project 351
By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Region – More than 300 eighth-grade ambassadors from across the state filled the State House Jan. 26 to participate in Project 351, a public service initiative launched during Gov. Deval Patrick’s inaugural in 2010. Project 351 celebrates the ethic of service, youth leadership and the power of community to uplift and unite while promoting the values of kindness, compassion, commitment, humility and generosity of spirit.
Eighth-grade ambassadors from cities and towns across the commonwealth were nominated for their unique leadership qualities, exemplary service ethic and spirit of generosity. The following local students were selected for Project 351 by the superintendent of their school districts: Zachary Youssef, Robert E. Melican Middle School, Northborough;
Connor Schoen, Gibbons Middle School, Westborough; Megan Saari, Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School, Marlborough and Michael O’Connell, Oak Middle School, Shrewsbury.
The morning began with Patrick hosting a Youth Town Meeting at the State House. Following the meeting, the governor joined student ambassadors for an afternoon of service at five nonprofit and educational organizations across Boston: Cradles to Crayons, the
Greater Boston Food Bank, Pine Street Inn, Hennigan Elementary School and BCYF Community Center and Amory Street Housing. The ambassadors were also joined by Nate Solder of the New England Patriots, Jared Sullinger of the Boston Celtics, and Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins.
“I welcome Project 351 Ambassadors from across the Commonwealth to the State House as we unite in the spirit of service,” Patrick said in a press release. “Project 351 is designed to inspire, challenge, and motivate our next generation of leaders to give back and make significant impact in our community.”
Connor Schoen, Gibbons Middle School Student Council president, is an active member of St. Luke’s Church in Westborough and participates in the Coats for Kids Foundation.
“The highlight of my day was meeting Gov. Patrick and doing a service with Nate Solder from the New England Patriots. We made stress balls for the students at the James W. Hennigan Elementary School in Jamaica Plain and cards with activity books for local nursing homes. Being chosen to participate in Project 351 was humbling and being there encouraged me to do more,” Connor said.
Fellow ambassador Michael O’Connell is an active Boy Scout who volunteers at Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services.
“For me, the best part of the day was meeting Gov. Patrick and shaking his hand. I participated in a community service project where we made packages for students at the Hennigan School. The packages included flash cards, book marks and comic books. After participating in Project 351 I feel like I want to be a better role model and a better friend,” he said.
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