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Danvers student named one of governor's ambassadors for service mission

Posted by Justin Rice  January 10, 2012 10:43 AM

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Ever since his sister joined the chorus at the Holten Richmond Middle School in Danvers, Daniel Scottgale knew the stage wasn’t for him.

“I found out what the crew did and found it more interesting than being on stage,” said Scottgale, who is now an eighth grader at the Holten Richmond Middle School. “I like building things too.”

Besides doing lighting and building sets for all the school’s productions, Scottgale also helps out in the school library and has served dinners at a soup kitchen in Salem. For all his efforts, Scottgale was named one of Gov. Deval Patrick’s student ambassadors for a day of service as part of Project 351’s statewide service mission this Saturday.

More than 250 eighth graders, representing the Commonwealth's 351 cities and towns will meet this Saturday, for a second annual day of service. The student “ambassadors” from across the state will meet to volunteer and celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.

Project 351 was launched during Patrick’s inaugural in 2010. Patrick will host a Youth Town Meeting before the students head out to service sites across Boston, including Cradles to Crayons, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Towers. The day will conclude at the State House so the students can reflect on their service with Patrick and celebrate King’s legacy.

Scottgale said he’s looking forward to meeting other volunteers his age as well as the governor. 

“I was really excited and proud,” Scottgale said. “It was a big thing. I was proud to be the one chosen. It feels good to help people out and it makes me feel good."

The ambassadors were all nominated by someone at their school based on their community service. Scottgale was nominated by his principal, and his guidance counselor, Jill Weeks, also sang his praises.  

“He’s always been someone who was strong academically and has great social connections here in school,” she said. “He’s not someone who likes to present himself in a way like ‘Look at me, look at me.’ He has a quiet presence within the school but he’s definitely a leader and I think someone who demonstrates maturity beyond his years with his efficacy for others a willingness to do something because it’s the right thing to do not for acknowledgement.”

Last year’s day of service impacted more than 10,000 children facing economic challenges in the areas of nutrition, early childhood health and development and education and motivated the ambassadors who took part.

Saturday will also serve as the launch of Project 351, a new, independent non-profit dedicated to continuing youth leadership in the Commonwealth through dedication to service of an annual class of ambassadors. Patrick will serve as Project 351's honorary chair.

“Project 351 will support and create opportunities for the eighth grade ambassadors’ continued service, by providing tools, enrichment and connection to a community of their peers,” Carolyn Casey, executive director of Project 351, said in a statement. “We will work to ensure that young leaders from across the Commonwealth have the greatest potential to make a difference in their communities.”

Justin A. Rice can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com.

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