BOSTON >> Berkshire County eighth-graders joined Governor Charlie Baker and fellow student leaders from across the commonwealth in Boston on Saturday for a day of celebration and service, as part of Project 351.

Annually convened by the governor of Massachusetts with support from multiple sponsors and partners, the day unites the new class of Project 351 ambassadors for the first time and honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by doing team-based service projects across the city. Students will do additional projects throughout the year.

The Class of 2016 includes nearly 400 eighth-graders representing the commonwealth's 351 cities and towns, including Samantha Gladu of Becket; Julia Jammalo of Clarksburg; Catherine Boino of Dalton; Janna Looney of Dalton; Hailey Miller of Florida; Shea McIlquham of Hinsdale; Miranda Hastings of Housatonic; Alexander Morin of Lanesborough; Lucy McMahon of Lenox; Anna Welch of New Ashford; Faith Wehner of Peru; Bree Gazaille of Savoy; Megan Smith of Sheffield; Gabriella Thierling of West Stockbridge; Brayden Smith of Williamstown; and Abigail Wells of Windsor, chosen to participate by their teachers, based on a criteria of "exemplary service ethic and values of kindness and compassion."


Carolyn Casey, executive director and founder of Project 351, called the class "a group of unsung heroes and quiet leaders committed to strengthening their communities and our Commonwealth."

Saturday's event included a kick-off at Faneuil Hall, a youth Town Meeting and Service Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library, and service projects at nonprofit organizations including Pine Street Inn, Cradles to Crayons, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción and the Greater Boston Food Bank.