Met School senior Frank Santilli to create M.A.D.D. memorial garden
December 21, 2011
By BETH HURD
Frank Santilli, a senior at the Met School in Providence, has found a way to accomplish his senior thesis and combine his passion for law enforcement with a new-found passion for landscape architecture.
He has chosen as his project to create a Memorial Garden for the Rhode Island chapter of M.A.D.D., or Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“At The Met we learn through real-world opportunities by working at internships and completing project-based assignments. During my senior year I have to do a project called the STP [Senior Thesis Project]. My STP project is going to incorporate my passions for law enforcement and landscaping,” Santilli wrote in a solicitation letter.
“I’ve been in a landscape architecture program for two years, and the school was visited by landscape architect Kurt Van Dexter."
Santilli asked for donations of items and gift baskets to be raffled off, with proceeds to be used to purchase the materials needed to create the garden.
He had proposed to build the garden at the offices of M.A.D.D., in Providence, but was told there was no room.
Instead, Santilli will be creating the garden on the campus of The Met School, in front of the new Entrepreneurship Building, currently under construction.
“I want to put in at least one gazebo, and maybe add to it,” he said on Sunday, Dec. 18; he said he wants to create a place where people can sit and visit.
Santilli plans to start construction of the garden in the spring, and hopes to finish by the date of the official ribbon-cutting for the new building, scheduled for May 10.
On Monday, Dec. 12, Frank Santilli, a
senior at The Met School in Providence, shows some of the many gift baskets –
12 in all – that were part of a fundraiser
for his senior thesis project. The winning raffle tickets were drawn at his Bowl for M.A.D.D. fundraiser, held at Town Hall Lanes on Sunday, Dec. 18.
Insider photo by Beth Hurd
His goal for the fundraiser was $2,000. As of the date of the raffle, held along with a Bowl for M.A.D.D. bowling fundraiser, held at Town Hall Lanes on Sunday, Dec. 18, Santilli had almost reached his goal. Town Hall Lanes is owned by the Ferri family, including Frank Ferri, Santilli’s uncle.
“I’m hoping to have some money left over to donate to M.A.D.D.,” he said.
Santilli will continue to accept donations for the project.
The baskets were on display at the popular bowling alley for two weeks, and many of the participants in the facility’s regular bowling leagues were among Santilli’s biggest supporters.
Members of Santilli’s family, including mom Phyllis, who works at Town Hall Lanes, and father Ronnie were among those to attend the event, helping out and showing their support. They couldn’t be more proud.
“It’s a great school, a perfect fit for Frank. My husband and I are very proud of him,” said his mother. “This school provided Frank with a learning experience in high school that he would have never encountered in a traditional school. I applaud this type of learning, for every child learns in his or her own way and this school does not leave any child behind. This type of learning, through internships and more, helps the student find his or her passions in life, and in doing so, helps them become a part of our society.”
“I can see his growth in the four years he’s gone to The Met – it’s really brought out his abilities, how the school is set up with advisors,” said Ferri of his nephew. “It’s given him more confidence. I’m proud of him, and this is a great project for him."
Also present were several of Santilli’s teachers (actually called advisors, rather than teachers) from The Met School.
“I’m very proud of all the hard work and dedication he’s put into the project. It truly gives back to the community,” said The Met’s academic advisor, Michael Ferrer.
Ferrer said the projects undertaken by the seniors at The Met vary in nature and, this year, include one student who is writing a children’s book about climate change, and another who has written a play about someone with mental challenges.
“Frank’s project definitely touches home with many people,” said The Met learning specialist Joe Suffoletto, an educator for 41 years. “Frank’s probably one of the most compassionate, dedicated, old-fashioned gentlemen [I’ve ever met; he’s one of the reasons I continue [to teach].”
Santilli’s project has the support of his advisors and MADD’s director, Gabrielle Abbate.
In a letter dated Nov. 28, she thanked Santilli for his choice of projects.
“We wish him much success in this endeavor. We appreciate the fact that his school, The Met School, will also offer their complete support to this worthwhile project,” she wrote.
And although Santilli, who currently works at the Atwood Avenue Stop & Shop, has enjoyed learning about landscape architecture, he plans continue a career path to law enforcement, and already has some experience under his belt as a member of the Johnston Police Explorers Post 405.