Caring and spirited are the words used to describe Eliza DeCubellis of Narragansett. Like many seniors, Eliza needed to do a senior project, but this 17-year-old took it to a whole new level.
Her mission to Glenmary Farm in Lewis County, KY earned her the Metta Students Foundation’s $1,000 scholarship.
Metta means love, kindness and compassion, and when the foundation found out Eliza not only wanted to spend her winter vacation helping one of the poorest communities in the United States, but she also wanted to raise enough money to bring 20 other volunteers, the foundation knew they had found their fourth recipient. They awarded DeCubellis at an assembly at Narragansett High School on Tuesday.
Eliza’s mission takes place from Feb. 16 to 23, where she and her team will rotate through various work sites building and repairing houses for the impoverished, administering food to the needy at a local food pantry, and providing services to the elderly and physically and mentally disabled at local health and rehabilitation centers.
“While some students view Senior Project as just another graduation requirement, I see it as an opportunity to do something that I have never done before. For this reason, I have chosen a topic that means a great deal to me and which allows me to give back to those less fortunate than myself,” DeCubellis said.
“This trip is so important to me because I have been brought up in an environment where community service is not an option, it is a lifestyle. I have done numerous service hours for various causes, but to do a project that is entirely my own is fulfilling on a much deeper level.”
DeCubellis’ guidance counselor Steve Pinch nominated her, saying, “Eliza is one of those students who teachers will remember because of her caring attitude and school spirit. She has completed hundreds of hours of community service and serves as a Eucharistic Minister at her church.”
As if the mission trip itself does not demonstrate “an inspiring and compassionate act,” Eliza has further taken upon herself the commitment to fundraise for the entire trip so that even those students who cannot afford to go, but would like to help others, can still participate. This involves Eliza raising in excess of $10,000.
Metta Students Founder Norm Kelly is CEO of Software Quality Associates in Providence and says his company has always wanted to give back to the community.
“I love the uniqueness of Metta Students,” Kelly said. “We are honoring high school kids for their acts of loving-kindness. You do not have to be the smartest or most athletic to be honored with a Metta Student Foundation Scholarship.”
To see video of how the Metta Students foundation began or for more information about the foundation, click here.