Oak School Student Represented Shrewsbury At 351

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A Shrewsbury student found himself seated next to Gov. Devall Patrick at a conference in Boston. Photo Credit: John Swinconeck (file)

SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Oak Middle Schools student Michael O'Connell represented Shrewsbury recently at Project 351, and wound up sitting with the organization's founder, Gov. Devall Patrick, during a question and answer session in Boston.

Project 351 is an independent non-profit organization that promotes the values of kindness compassion, commitment, humility, and generosity. It was launched at Patrick's 2011 inaugural when more than 400 youth ambassadors united to serve, develop leadership skills and discuss issues critical to young people and their communities.

The students held a town meeting forum with the governor to discuss issues, and then participated in service projects throughout Boston.

Oak Middle School Principal Ann Jones said O'Connell speaks regularly with teachers about local and national issues.

O'Donnell said he helped assemble care packages with the Cradles To Crayons program that provides children living in homeless or low-income situations with essential items for home and school.

“I realized that its a lot more fun doing service when have a reason behind it. That's one thing I want to bring back to Shrewsbury, is to get kids excited about service,” O'Connell said.

As far as his impression of the governor, whom O'Connell said, in part, “he is very kind and has a very good handshake.”

Jones said that organizations such as Cradles To Crayons and Project 351 are important because “it teaches kids how to help kids.”

“He's done an extraordinary job,” said Shrewsbury School Committee Vice Chairman John Samia, praising O'Connell. “Congratulations on a job well done.”

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