By Jamie Lasorsa, Reporter
Tommy Robinson, lifelong Princeton resident and an upcoming Junior at Saint John’s High
School, started learning valuable leadership skills at a very young age. In 2019, when Tommy
was in 8th grade, he was nominated by his former principal at the Thomas Prince School,
Mary Cringan, to be an ambassador for Project 351.
As stated from the organization’s website, “Project 351 is an independent nonprofit
organization that builds a movement of youth-led service by engaging an unsung hero from
each of Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns.” One representative per city/town is chosen
during their 8th grade year to work with the program to not only learn valuable leadership
skills, but also to organize and facilitate community service projects which benefit other non-
profits throughout the state.
The organization’s motto, “Uniting Massachusetts through Youth Service and Leadership”
rings true, as the program has brought thousands of students who otherwise may have never
met, together since its formation in 2011. The program, whose concept was generated by
former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and further developed by youth advocate and
current Executive Director Carolyn Casey, has positively touched more than 1,000,000 lives,
and is helping Massachusetts youth find their leadership voice and connect with other strong
youth across the state.
During his 8th Grade ambassador year, although it was a little more challenging than normal
due to pandemic restrictions, Tommy helped organize a clothing drive and took advantage of
attending virtual leadership workshops to enhance his leadership abilities. Tommy thoroughly
enjoyed his experience with the project and meeting other like-minded youth participating in
Students are invited and encouraged to continue with the group after their 8th grade
commitment, by being part of the Project 351 Alumni community. Through this community,
alumni are encouraged to continue their leadership development and act as mentors to
subsequent Project 351 Ambassadors.
Tommy, in spring of 2020, started working with his English Teacher and created a Letter
Corps project of his own. The Mission was to have a positive impact through old-fashioned
letter writing. Tommy had recognized the need for raising the spirits of many local senior
citizens, as the impact of the pandemic was creating “a byproduct of loneliness” expressed
Tommy. This past spring, Letter Corps partnered with the Thomas Prince School and students
of all ages (Kindergarten through 8th grade), with the instruction of Tommy, worked together
to create more than 220 handwritten letter and pieces of artwork to distribute to seniors in
Princeton, Holden, and West Boylston. Tommy gave this reflection, “It’s the thought and care
the students put into each letter and piece of art that sparks a smile upon receipt.” TPS
Principal Tammy Boyle added, “It was inspiring to see the students’ work on this project.
We’ve all felt a little lonely at times over the past couple of years and this project
demonstrates that it’s within reach to make a difference.”
Being active in sports; Lacrosse and Alpine Skiing, while keeping academics in the forefront
as well, Tommy is working hard to juggle all he wishes to accomplish, with high aspirations
and goals well set. He attributes his ability to lead and manage his time to the lessons he has
learned from Project 351. “These skills I have learned can be applied to all aspects of my life.”
Tommy also recently participated in the Hope & Gratitude Walk, a community-building
fundraiser among the Project 351 community to celebrate unity. This young man’s dedication
to bettering himself so he can be a leader and positive member of his community is admirable
and I have no doubt he will do great things!
Tommy has been the leader of online workshops for other students of Project 351, giving
instructions and talking about his success with the Letter Corps project. He wishes to
continue developing the Letter Corps project and encourages others
to visit lettercorps.org to learn about how you can be a part of this special mission.