Metta Students founder Norm Kelly presents SRA junior Emily Gaboriault with a $1,000 check. With Emily is theology teacher Doreen Engel and Emily’s mom, Susan.

The Metta Students Foundation awarded a $1,000 grant to Emily Gaboriault, a junior at Saint Raphael Academy and a resident of Central Falls.

Norm Kelly, the founder of Metta Students Foundation, presented the grant to her in theology class last week, with Principal Dan Richard, Vice Principal for Student Life Marc Thibault, theology teacher Doreen Engel and Emily’s mother, Susan, in attendance. He showed a short video about a Rhode Island student’s act of kindness that inspired the founding of Metta Students. Mr. Kelly commended Emily for starting a recycling program at the Academy, in addition to her time spent volunteering at the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, Special Olympics and Lasallian Youth. Mr. Kelly said Emily told him she intended to donate her award to the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen.

Mrs. Engel, who nominated Emily for her efforts, recognized her ability to be a “servant leader.” It was a story about Mrs. Engel’s brother that inspired Emily to work harder to increase recycling efforts at SRA.

“Many of us can do service when people set us up with the opportunity to do service, but to be a servant leader—when you see something that is not right and you are willing to stand up and say something,” said Mrs. Engel, something she admits is very hard to do.

As a sophomore, Emily petitioned the administration to purchase recycling bins for drink containers in each cafeteria, and then she and other art students painted bright recycling-themed designs on them (see separate story). This year, another bin was purchased for Alumni Hall.

Mrs. Engel told the class, “I hope Emily will inspire you to that idea of servant leadership—don’t just follow when you see something that’s not right. You be the one to change it.”

Metta Students is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote kindness and goodwill among high school students in Rhode Island and beyond. They award a $1,000 grant to a deserving student every month during the school year. The last winner of the award from Saint Raphael Academy was Sara Taborda in 2016.


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