Michael Scognamiglio

This summer, Michael Scognamiglio ’10 and Celia Lewis ’10 left an indelible mark on the lives of local children in the small town of San Bartolo, Peru. Scognamiglio was a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award in the spring of 2009, which funded the trip for Scognamiglio and Lewis, who also received the award. The MLK Jr. Award grants $2,500 each year to a student with an idea for a summer project that encourages service towards social change. Scognamiglio and Lewis created “Crossing Borders Changing Lives,” a program dedicated to showing students how they can make a difference in their own communities. Patrick Wolber ’11 and three students from the Lawrence community also participated in the four week program in San Bartolo, Peru. The Americans teamed up with students from Mor ón School, a local Peruvian high school. Alana Rush, former Assistant Director of Community Service, supervised the trip. The students took part in several programs intended to help the San Bartolo students identify political and social problems in their own communities. The group organized and participated in a beach cleanup, led a conference for young students about leadership, painted a large mural and conducted a photojournalism project. The group also visited banks and corporations in Lima, where the students met with CEOs to learn how corporations fulfill their social responsibilities. A swine flu scare presented some challenges for the group when Peruvian officials closed schools early for winter vacation, which prevented the Americans from completing some of their planned projects, such as teaching English in elementary schools. “Celia and I worked well together throughout the entire program,” said Scognamiglio. “The trip made a change in both the outlook of the American and the Peruvian students.” While in Peru, Scognamiglio and Lewis created an organization called Clutch Collaborative. Clutch Collaborative “seeks to expose high school students to social entrepreneurship opportunities in their own communities,” Scognamiglio said. He said, “Essentially we want to show kids how they can make a positive impact on their own community. We have been so fortunate that we’ve had both the opportunity to participate in programs that have shown us how we can do this and the opportunity to lead a program that shows others how make a positive change. Now, we want to bring these experiences back to the greater Andover community.” The Clutch Collaborative will be hosting its first event on November 8. At the conference, over 100 students from local public and private schools will take part in workshops and discussions regarding leadership and social entrepreneurship. After graduating in 2010, Scognamiglio and Lewis plan to continue working on the program. “Celia and I are going to keep an eye on it,” he said. Members of the Brooks School have taken an interest in Scognamiglio and Lewis’ ideas and plan to bring students from Brooks to San Bartolo next summer, as a continuation of Crossing Boarders Changing Lives. “Celia and I will plan the itinerary [for next year] based on what we learned last summer”, said Scognamiglio. This Friday they presented their project at a Brooks All School Meeting.