Jacques represents Ashland as Project 351 Ambassador
Ashland Middle School student Grace Jacques is this year’s Project 351 Ambassador.
Before being called into the principal’s office last fall, Jacques did not know anything about the program that was started in 2011 by then-Governor Deval Patrick as a way to focus on the potential of the state’s youth.
“I did not know that I had been nominated, however I was very excited when Mr. DiGirolamo told me that I was the one who had been selected to participate,” she says. “I wanted to participate in Project 351 because it seemed like a great opportunity to be able to meet new people and serve my community.”
The statewide project taps eighth grade students who can be described as “unsung heroes and quiet leaders” from all 351 municipalities in Massachusetts.
Jacques describes herself as “a very loud and energetic person” who values spending time with close friends and family. She believes one of the most important things in life is to make sure everyone feels included.
“It is a terrible feeling to see someone who has been excluded or be that person yourself. Therefore, I strive to make sure that everyone around me feels included in every situation. I believe the people who view me as a leader mainly recognize me for the fact that I always try to include people and make sure that everyone feels welcome.”
One of the lessons Jacques has learned so far is that “service does not end when you are in eighth grade, it lasts for a lifetime. There are a wide variety of activities that I will participate in in my coming years at Project 351 that I am looking forward to.”
She already completed the Spring Service clothing drive at Ashland Middle School to benefit Cradles to Crayons, which she described as a wonderful experience.
“Through my clothing drive, I learned that service does not have to come in a big or small act to be defined as service, anything that people can contribute is helpful. As for what I am most looking forward to, I would say that helping future ambassadors tops my list. I was so inspired on Launch Day by seeing so many who had served in the past.”
Ashland Middle School Principal Dave DiGirolamo says Jacques was “nominated by her 8th grade team and myself because the group truly felt that she embodies the Project 351 values: Kindness, Compassion, Humility and Gratitude. We felt she had a true passion for service and possessed the leadership skills to rally her peers to run a successful community service project.”
For more information on Project 351, visit www.project351.org.