Andrew Agrippina started the pro-life club at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, but that wasn’t enough for the young activist.
He’s also volunteered as president of Delta Omega, a service club, at soup kitchens in Atlanta, collecting over 1,000 cans of food, and hosting different drives to collect food and blankets. He was also involved in service as a part of Youth Leadership Sandy Springs.
Andrew said he was shocked when he learned what abortion is and that it happens. “My Catholic faith tells me that I cannot stand idle while grave injustices run rampant in our society,” he said.
Earlier this year, Andrew worked with Knights of Columbus at Holy Spirit Catholic Church to raise a billboard on I-75 in Atlanta. The photo of a newborn baby with the words “All Life Matters” represents to Andrew a dedication to life and serving others.
He said he took his school’s motto, “Ministrare non Ministrari,” which means “to serve, not to be served,” seriously.
“I have been raised with these values, and they have become a part of who I am,” Andrew said.
He calls Tommy Curtin his mentor, and “an educator in the purest sense.” Curtin served as football coach, principal, teacher, director, piano accompanist and vocal coach during Andrew’s time at Holy Spirit.
“He played a pivotal role in my formation as a student, helping me discover my passion for music and love of knowledge,” Andrew said. “He’s an incredible teacher, and it is very evident that he loves what he does.”
Curtin said Andrew followed through with his billboard plan like a good business person.
“As part of his work with [the pro-life club], he met with city officials in Atlanta to propose billboards to promote life, and I believe one was approved,” Curtin said. “He saw the project through start to finish, and that to me is a very entrepreneurial activity.”
Andrew said the effort to raise the billboard taught him how important perseverance and drive are, but he said he also learned he cannot do everything alone. He said he is thankful for the help he got from Knights of Columbus.
On his resume, Andrew lists the Ray Kroc Youth Achievement Award, which was established by the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators Association in 1985 in memory of McDonald’s founder, Ray A. Kroc. Each participating school selects one graduating senior per year to receive the award.
“Andrew is a natural leader, and he combines great leadership skills with an incredibly optimistic attitude,” Curtin said.
His belief that good things come from hard work fuels his projects. “He’s also very talented, which allows him to be successful in many areas from arts to academic to service organizations at our school,” Curtin said.
In addition to starting the pro-life club at school, Andrew participated and won first place in the Atlanta Chapter of Georgia Right to Life Oratory Contest in the spring of 2014. He went on to win the statewide contest, earning $250 and a summer internship with Georgia Right to Life. His winning speech was titled “Proliferate the Pro-Life Rate.” In the speech, he said people should love and not pass judgment on women who become unexpectedly pregnant.
But Andrew’s commitment to life extends beyond pregnancy.
“To me, the pro-life cause transcends the issue of abortion,” he said. “Being pro-life means treating everyone I meet with the love and dignity that every human life deserves.”
When the pro-life club took a trip to the District of Columbia for the March for Life, Andrew and other club members brought along blankets and granola bars to donate.
“We handed these out to the homeless people we encountered while marching,” Andrew said. “That is what the pro-life movement is about.”
Andrew plans to attend Washington and Lee University, with a double major in business administration and politics, and minor in music. He said he made the choice based on the school’s inspiring honor code and intimate academic environment.
This article was prepared by Lela Johnson and written by Ellen Eldridge.