|Five WHS seniors receive Eagle Scout honors|
|Written by Deborah Stone|
|Friday, 28 May 2010 08:50|
Five WHS seniors from Boy Scout Troop 422 recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout at a combined Eagle Court of Honor.
Gus DeGrandis, Dustin Meyring, Sam Schetterer, Zach Schroeder and Josh Smith achieved this recognition through years of hard work and commitment.
To become an Eagle Scout, each had to plan, organize and manage an extensive service project to demonstrate their leadership skills.
Gus DeGrandis decided on a project involving WHS. He removed the school’s old brick emblem, which sits outside on the corner of the campus, and replaced it with a new one.
"I got the idea from Principal Puckett," explains Gus. "I liked the idea because it involved my school. The emblem identifies WHS and is a symbol of student spirit."
Although planning the project took many months, the actual construction took only three days. The teen had volunteer help from friends and fellow Scouts and the work was finished quickly.
He says, "The hard part was all the stuff beforehand. I had to raise the money, so I sold plants and firewood. I also had to reach out to businesses in the community, like Home Depot and Trendstate Concrete Products, Inc. to get some of the materials at a discount or donated."
He adds, "The design was done by a local landscape architect, Stephen Schneider, who donated his time to the project."
Completing the work was gratifying to Gus, who experiences pride each day he goes to school and sees the emblem sign.
"I feel good about what I did," he comments. "And I gained some great skills in the process, such as leadership, organization and fundraising."
Scouting has been a positive experience for the teen, who has been involved with the organization for the past seven years.
He particularly enjoyed all the outdoor activities and campouts, as they helped teach him how to be comfortable in the woods.
"I was able to learn survival skills, which I think are always useful to have. And I also learned a lot about how to help others in emergencies."
Gus will attend WWU come fall, where he plans to major in physics.
Sam Schetterer opted to build four wooden benches for the trail that surrounds the Greenbrier Heights community in Woodinville.
He received donations of materials from Woodinville Lumber (through the generosity of Craig McKay), Everett Steel and McLendon Hardware. Woodinville Pizza Company graciously provided pizzas for the two work parties.
"The project went well overall," comments Sam. "It was challenging, though, to keep all the logistics straight and to stay on top of things. I had to keep people organized and continuously check on them during the work parties to make sure that the job was getting done the right way."
Sam recruited 18 friends and fellow Scouts to help him complete the project.
"It was a good experience because it strengthened my leadership and organization skills and gave me confidence."
The 18 year-old plans to attend UW next fall and study biological engineering.
For his project, Dustin Meyring chose to build a shelter for a pump house, which supplies fresh water through Granite Falls Masonic Park.
"I have gone camping at this park since I was a kid," he explains, "and I decided to ask the park manager if there was something I could do to benefit the place. He came up with the idea, which I thought was a good one."
The park purchased a kit for the shelter that Dustin assembled. It took five work parties and close to 20 of his friends and Scouts to put together the structure.
He admits that it was challenging to get people to the site due to the distance, and once they were there he had to ensure that each person had a task to do.
"I learned to be patient with people," he says, "as well as be organized because that’s the only way you’re going to get anything done."
Being a Boy Scout has taught the young man to respect nature and to take an active role in caring for the environment. He has also gained much maturity through the experience.
"Scouts has been fantastic for me," he adds. "It’s a great organization and I’ve gotten so much out of it."
Though he has not yet decided upon a school, college and a business major is definitely in Dustin’s near future.
Josh Smith went to Duvall for project proposal ideas.
He seized upon the suggestion to do some work at Rasmussen Lake Park, as it provided an opportunity to benefit the environment.
His project involved clearing out blackberries and other invasive plants, which were crowding the park, and planting grass seed and a variety of native species such as Douglas fir and western red cedar.
He also put in a pathway of wood chips, installed a picnic table and benches and a special fishing bench near the water’s edge.
Coordinating with the city, getting the necessary permits and contacting companies for donations took him four months.
The actual work was done over several weekends in December and January.
"I was able to get a lot of the materials donated from such places as Everett Steel, Tacoma Steel Products, Plants Northwest, Olympic Nursery and Storm Lake Growers," explains Josh. "Then I did a fundraiser to get some money to buy the soil, which DeYoung’s discounted, and the wood chips, which I also got at a discount from Rainier Wood Recyclers."
One of the main challenges for the young man was the weather. A cold snap in December froze the ground, which made it difficult to do the work.
Also, he says that it was difficult at times to get people to return his calls in a timely fashion, which forced him to practice patience.
For Josh, Scouts has provided a myriad of learning experiences that will serve him well in his future.
"I’ve learned to care about the environment, as well as my community," he says. "Scouts is all about citizenship and the importance of being involved in your community."
As for as his post graduation plans, the teen is considering attending WWU, WSU or Gonzaga University to pursue a career in possibly political science or journalism.
Zach Schroeder chose to renovate a planter box at East Ridge Elementary for his Eagle Scout project.
When he had visited the school in the past, he noticed that the large planter box outside of the library was overgrown and full of weeds.
He spoke with the principal and the groundskeeper for permission to do the necessary renovation work and then he received funding support for the project from the PTA.
"I dug out the old soil and weeds and then replanted it with all native and low maintenance plants," explains Zach. "I recruited about a dozen friends and Scouts to help me with the work. And I also had a few sixth graders from the school, too."
The actual project required only one weekend for the teen to complete, but the planning process took close to a year.
"I had to schedule all these meetings," he says. "There were a number of people who had to be consulted and they all had their opinions like the PTA, principal, some teachers and the groundskeeper. It involved a lot of organization."
He adds, "I learned that good planning is the key to proper execution."
Zach has received several compliments from his work and he feels personally satisfied with the results.
He is happy that some of the students from the school participated, as he believes that it helped make the venture more community oriented, as opposed to being solely a Scouts’ endeavor.
As for his Boy Scout experience, the young man notes the journey he embarked on years ago when he first joined the organization.
"It’s been an incredible process," he explains. "When I was a young kid and just starting out, becoming an Eagle seemed like this daunting goal. I knew I wanted to achieve it, but it seemed so far away. Scouts has taught me the importance of persistence and dedication when it comes to reaching your goals."
Come fall, Zach will head to a university in Washington or Oregon to study engineering.