By DAVID VOEGELE
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Marcino Ambris, a 13 year-old Essex student in the 8th grade at the Albert D. Lawton School. He is a thoughtful young man, who is very enthused about his school and community. His friends call him Cino.
When I asked him about school, Cino had this to say. “I really enjoy being in their little school community. Everyone is so kind and I always feel positive…Some of my favorite classes are Science, Math, Humanities, and Language Arts…Some of my favorite school activities are Art, Music, Chorus, and Needle Felting…I really like doing select chorus. I also like doing the school musical when the time rolls around.”
Regarding community activities he said, “One of my favorite things to do after school is go to Teen Center. When I go there, I always feel like I’m at my second home. Everyone there is so generous and so positive and it just feels like I don’t have a care in the world… I also love what Eliza (Kuchuk), does for all of us teens…She’s such a bright soul and honestly when I talk to her, there’s never a dull moment.”
I asked Cino if there are ways the community could better support youth. He responded, “I feel like the Essex Community cares a lot about the youth…Honestly, there is always room for improvement. However, I think we’re doing just fine the way it is.”
Marcino is already thinking about the future, for himself and others. In terms of a career, he said, “I really want to focus on music and maybe clothing design. These are two things that have always caught my eye”. In regards to the role of youth he commented, “I believe that the youth can help people in lots of ways. We are the new generation…We have the power to make things that humanity has never even thought of doing. All we need to do is put our minds to it and get working, because we’re the new era. We can do anything!”
It is very cool when youth inspire adults. Marcino’s comments were certainly inspiring to me. I was curious if he impresses others in the way he has impressed me. I asked Eliza Kuchuk (CHIPS Director of Youth Engagement) for her thoughts. “Cino is everyone’s best friend…He appreciates others’ differences, and unconditionally accepts others as they present themselves…Cino is a kind and strong leader…I believe he will continue to make a positive difference in other people’s lives just by being himself.”
The events of the past year in particular have demonstrated time after time the powerful impact that the youth voice can wield. We saw this in the Parkland students, in the March for Our Lives participants and speakers across the nation, and in youth voices right here in the Essex community. Marcino Ambris’s voice is one that I anticipate we will hear more of in the years ahead.