National Day of Service

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Senator Walter Timilty presents an award to contest winner Abby Murphy for her cartoon about substance abuse prevention.

Senator Walter Timilty presents an award to contest winner Abby Murphy for her cartoon about substance abuse prevention.

On Friday, January 12, the Canton High School Community Problem Solving team Project SAVE (Substance Abuse Victim Empowerment) hosted a series of programs in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day — the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service.

The day began with a morning assembly for seventh and eighth grade students focused on substance abuse prevention. Speakers at the assembly included GMS Principal Dr. Bill Conard, Senator Walter Timilty, Representative William Galvin, and Dr. Dan Muse, a Canton resident and board certified emergency medicine physician.

The programming continued in the afternoon with a career event for middle and high schoolers at the Canton Public Library. The event featured hands-on workshops on robotics, electronics, woodworking and finance, followed by a panel discussion with several area professionals from diverse backgrounds. Panelists included Dr. Roopali Gandhi, associate director of U.S. medical affairs at Sanofi Genzyme and neurology professor at Harvard Medical School; Lisa Guo, project manager at Reebok; Pascal O’Connor, artist and professional carpenter; and Vijay Addanki, project management director for State Street and Project SAVE advisor.

Project SAVE also sponsored a student competition centered on the topic of substance abuse prevention, and the winners were recognized during the MLK Day events. Winners included seventh graders Lucia Curran Barker and Laura Walsh (short film); seventh grader Abigail Martin (short story); seventh grader Abigail Murphy (artwork); and Franklin High School junior Saketh Saripalli (poetry).

Project SAVE received a federal grant to host events on MLK Day to spread awareness about substance abuse prevention and also provide information about youth career opportunities. The members of Project SAVE hope to help the victims of substance abuse empower themselves to find their passions and pursue their interests for their future. The team has organized several prior events throughout the school year, including a walkathon, a bike rally, and a panel discussion on substance abuse.

See this week’s Canton Citizen for more photos from the Project SAVE event. Not a subscriber? Click here to order your subscription today (also available in digital form).

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