BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Teenagers live in a culture these days that is scattered and exciting. Layers of activities can accompany school lessons. That is why it is truly remarkable when Gonzales-based Boy Scout Troop 65 announced it produced eight brand new Eagle Scouts in the last six months of 2015.
They celebrated last week when the troop was gathered for scout Jeffery Kelly's Court of Honor.
Karen Tatum, an enthusiastic Troop 65 mom, says "I have met so many grown men that say their biggest regret was not getting their Eagle. I have a younger son who is First Class and we need to kick it up a notch now that his brother has made it."
Troop 65 says about 4% of all Scouts ever attain the rank of Eagle Scout. Why? Because it requires a level of dedication, focus, hard work, and leadership that is often hard for young men to maintain along with the rigors of high school academics, athletics, and other extracurricular activities.
Despite those challenges, between June 12 and December 10, 2015, Matthew Amedee Savoie, Luke Clement Savoie, Erik Tyler Viator, Charles Anthony Houpy III, Christopher Paul Delatte, Mason Joseph Ruiz, Jeffrey Joseph Kelley, and Joseph Daniel Stassi defied the odds and attained Scouting's highest rank.
As part of those requirements, the scouts could choose some badges to earn, while others were required. Badges encourage a boy to learn about disciplines he may never encounter for their uniqueness, or definitely will encounter as a life skill. So subjects may range from Citizenship in the Community, Cooking, Sustainability, First Aid, Emergency Preparedness, Physical Fitness, among many more disciplines. The final task on the path to Eagle is to complete a service project in the community.
Scouts must research, plan, organize, and execute the project with the support of their fellow Scouts.
Almost like a thesis to complete a class, scouts must also do an important project that usually serves the community.
These Eagles did the following:
Matthew Amedee Savoie, a graduate of Ascension Prep pressure washed and cleaned the parking lot at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in order to prepare it for striping.
Luke Clement Savoie, a senior at St. Amant High, followed up on his brother's project by painting parking lot stripes, all 300 + spots.
Erik Tyler Viator, Dutchtown High developed a Family Items Bank collecting donations at St. Mark's Church. Families in need can obtain household cleaning items, hygiene items, and baby items.
Charles Anthony Houpy, III, a grad of St. Amant, collected multiple food pantry donations through food drives at Delaune's and Winn Dixie. He gathered approximately 2,500 pounds of groceries to Holy Rosary's food pantry and St. Theresa's community service center food pantry.
Christopher Paul Delatte, a senior at St. Amant, cleaned and repainted the parking lot of the Council 6389 Knights of Columbus Hall .
Mason Joseph Ruiz, another St. Amant senior, researched and installed a new flagpole in front of St. Theresa School.
Jeffrey Joseph Kelley, a senior at Catholic High in Baton Rouge, poured 4 concrete slabs at the St Mark's Way of the Cross courtyard and installed concrete benches on them for parishioners to rest while praying at the Stations of the Cross.
Joseph Daniel Stassi, another senior at Catholic High, cleaned and pressure washed the stations and pathway of the Way of the Cross at St. Mark's Church, he improved the landscaping.
Now, as they look back at the scouting careers, hopefully they are now truly "trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent", just like the Scout Law says.