AP NEWS

Pepperell’s Sarah Caiazzo Pyke

April 6, 2019

By Jon Winkler

jwinkler@nashobavalleyvoice.com

PEPPERELL -- Sarah Caiazzo Pyke only has a few minutes to talk.

She’s got rehearsals for the Nissitissit Middle School’s upcoming performance on The Wizard of Oz, where she’s acting in multiple roles.

It’s a busy afternoon for the eighth-grader that follows right after her busy day at school mixing class work with community service.

Pyke put together a clothing drive for Cradles to Crayons, which collects clothes and other necessities to give back to underprivileged youth, and is taking donations at her school until April 5.

She also set up donation bins at the Lawrence Library, Pepperell Family Pharmacy and Donelan’s Supermarket open until April 6.

The clothing drive is actually one facet of a year’s worth of public service Pyke is doing as an Ambassador for Project 351, a state-wide program that selects exemplary youth leaders from the state’s 351 cities and have them participate in larger community service projects throughout a year-long period.

Pyke said that Nissitissit’s Principal Diane Gleason and Assistant Principal Lauren Young recommended her for Project 351 because of her kindness and compassion she shows to others in school. She also offers her free time in the winter shoveling snow off her elderly neighbors’ driveways. She’s also not shy to offer ideas on fun ways of helping the community, proposing a talent show to raise money for the local food pantry.

“I like to help people,” Pyke said. “It makes me feel good that I’m doing something for others and making an impact on their lives.”

The ambitious student has more volunteer work in the coming months with Project 351, including participating in local Memorial Day celebrations, leading hometown tributes and creating care packages for active duty military members on September 11 and participating in food drives in the fall. Her creativity and kindness will still shine through in even simpler ways, as she occasionally leaves anonymous Post-It notes on her teachers’ desks with a friendly message.

“Since I was little, I’ve always loved to help people in a creative way,” she said. “It’s more than just saying something nice to someone.”

Pyke has big plans for her future, hoping to become a Certified Nursing Assistant at 16 before going to nursing school for college at 18, then wanting to become a lawyer later in life. Of course she has to navigate high school first, which she’s even more excited about.

“I can’t wait to see what my life is going to be like,” she said. “I like to be a part of life, I’m not the kind of kid who wants to sit on my phone all day. I’m not a cookie-cutter kid.”