By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – On Sept. 11, students at Shrewsbury High School participated in a service project to honor local veterans and those who died in the terrorist attack 14 years ago. As part of Project 351, hundreds of cards were made that will be distributed to those who have served.
Project 351 is a nonprofit organization that encourages student leadership. Beginning in the eighth grade, students are appointed as “ambassadors” to serve a one-year term. These ambassadors immerse themselves in leadership training and become mentors for other students.
“When I was in eighth grade I was chosen to be a Project 351 Ambassador. Now a senior in high school, I do all I can to help with projects throughout the community. Dr. Ann Jones, the principal of the middle school, nominated this year’s ambassador, Paulina Hruskoci. Since she is new to Project 351, I’m leading this year and mentoring her for this project,” said senior Jaehyun Lee.
Project 351 gets its name from the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. There are several major initiatives throughout the year, including a service day in Boston in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a leadership program for skills development and service learning, and a food drive.
Another initiative involves 9/11 service that is typically with the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund (MMHF).
“We collect monetary donations for the MMHF and we make cards for them. There was a twist that happened this year with this event. These were due by Sept. 4, a date that we could not meet. Therefore, we chose to donate to another organization, which was the local veterans,” Lee said.
Throughout the week of Sept. 8, the organization raised donations for Veterans, Inc.
“Project 351 means so much to me. It is a representation of service, leadership and teamwork. Having the opportunity of being able to experience all of this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. I hope I can make the most of it and encourage others to serve,” said Hruskoci.
Throughout the year there are many opportunities for the ambassadors and the alumni to work together. This encourages leadership development, mentoring, friendship, communication, cooperation and so much more.
“We had [student’s dad] come and speak. He was a part of Desert Storm and he conveyed just how encouraging it is to get cards in the mail,” said Lee.
One student who was participating explained how she thought this was such a nice idea, especially since it was held Sept. 11.
“Although this was not directly related to 9/11, we can remember in a more positive way to thank those who have fought in the war against terrorism that was a direct result of 9/11,” said senior Julie Fitzpatrick.