Island eighth-graders at Project 351

Pandora Bassett (West Tisbury), left, Solon Oliver (Chilmark), Catherine Cherry (Edgartown), Graham Houghton (Project 351 Advisor), Julia Dostal (Tisbury), Sean O’Malley (MVRHS Alumni Leader), Ruby Suman (Aquinnah) and Lauren Pagliccia (Oak Bluffs). Photo Courtesy of Kimberly Kirk

A group of Island eighth graders recently attended the Project 351 MLK Day team building and community service program in Boston with Governor Charlie Baker and peers from across the Commonwealth. The group consisted of Pandora Bassett, West Tisbury; Solon Oliver, Chilmark; Catherine Cherry, Edgartown; Julia Dostal, Tisbury; Ruby Suman, Aquinnah; and Lauren Pagliccia, Oak Bluffs, along with the Island Project 351 Advisor, Graham Houghton.

According to a press release, each Project 351 Ambassador was selected by his or her teachers as a student who exemplifies leadership, an ethic of service, kindness, compassion, humility and gratitude. Ambassadors represent their town for a one year period, and work together with other eighth graders from every town and city in the Commonwealth in team-based service projects and leadership development opportunities.

Project 351 was created by Governor Deval Patrick as a statewide non-profit organization that partners with educators, non-profit organizations, private sector and civic leaders, families, and volunteers. Its mission is to unite eigth grade Ambassadors across the Commonwealth in a program geared toward community service, the development of leadership and communication skills, and the building of a statewide network of value-aligned peers.