By Danielle Ray, Senior Reporter
Thomas Prince School eighth grader Charlie Doyle is thrilled to have the opportunity to make a difference in his community and beyond as a Class of 2021 Project 351 Ambassador.
“I am both happy and a little nervous to have been selected,” he said.
TPS Assistant Principal Amanda Martinez contacted 14-year-old Charlie and his parents early December last year to give them the good news that he had been selected by school staff to represent Princeton.
“Charlie is an outstanding model of humility, compassion, and kindness,” Martinez said. “He leads by example and is enthusiastic to make positive changes and advancements for his community. Thomas Prince School and the town of Princeton are so fortunate to have him lead our way.”
Project 351 is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was launched in 2011 under then-Governor Deval Patrick as a one-day celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., statewide unity, and youth leadership. One year later, Governor Patrick convened the second class of ambassadors to celebrate Dr. King and kick-off a 12-month leadership journey, and it has continued since then.
Named for the 351 cities and towns in the state, Project 351 unites eighth grade ambassadors, one from every city and town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The ambassadors participate in a year of leadership development, enrichment, and impact through service opportunities. The program’s motto is ‘Uniting Massachusetts through youth service and leadership.’
Wachusett Regional School District Class of 2021 ambassadors were introduced at the Jan. 25 virtual school committee meeting – Ekaavli Daga is representing Holden, Leighla Boucher Paxton, Charlie is representing Princeton, Emma Day Rutland, and Jordan D’Amelio is representing Sterling.
This is the eleventh year for Project 351, with a modified program in response to COVID-19. The ambassadors’ journey began in February with their enrollment in Service Leadership Academy, a four-week online program that focuses on team building and civic engagement with inspirational special guests.
Charlie said the Project 351 launch day on March 7, despite being virtual because of the pandemic, touched him.
“I watched it with my parents,” he said. “It was eye opening to see all the things Project 351 has done and to see so many kids from all the different towns. I only wish it was in person and hope that as the year goes on, we get to do something all together.”
Charlie is not wasting any time, already working on organizing a new and gently used clothing and shoes drive for children ages newborn to 12 for Cradles to Crayons from May 10 to 20.
“There will be a drop off bin at Thomas Prince School outside under the pavilion, I will also be offering contactless pick up of donations,” he said. “More information on that will be coming soon through the school, Nextdoor Princeton, and other social media.”
Charlie will also be involved in other Project 351 services projects this year that he is “still learning about,” including a food drive and 9/11 tribute.
“My family has offered to help me, and it makes me happy that they are proud,” he said.
In his spare time, Charlie loves “all things football” and enjoys hanging out with his friends and family, including his parents Sean and Hilary Doyle, who are bursting with pride.
“Empathy has always been an inherent trait in Charlie,” they said. “For him to be given the opportunity to channel this is heart-warming. At the root of it all, Charlie is simply a good and humble person, qualities we are so proud of.”