By: Sam Kersh
In every community, there are leaders.
Here at GHS, Eagle Scouts, who have achieved one of the most honorable ranks in the Boy Scouts of America program, embody this symbol of leadership at an incredible level.
Scouts in this exceptional program can achieve many different ranks, often represented by medals worn on their uniform. Since its establishment in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by only four percent of Scouts, requiring those applying to undergo a lengthy review process that proves they are suitable for the honor.
But being an Eagle Scout is more than just an achievement that comes with a medal. Being an Eagle Scout means that one has certain values, skills, and experiences that truly embody what it takes to be a leader in one's community.
“The process is definitely difficult because you have to be extremely involved and dedicate the time needed to earn Eagle,” said senior Dayna Rohmann. “Not only do you have to meet the requirements for the ranks leading up to it, but there are also merit badges and an Eagle Project that you have to complete.”
Without a doubt, the Eagle Project is one of the most difficult but important aspects of the application process. It provides Scouts the opportunity to use their skills to address an issue in their community that is personal to them.
For Rohmann, her Eagle Project came towards the end of her application process, one that stretched over two and a half years. Rohmann helped construct a decorative brick walkway for a local church, allowing parishioners to gather for outdoor ceremonies, which, previously indoors, were halted due to COVID.
“I chose the project because I was a member of the church and was a project that I could complete within the few months I had left to earn the Eagle Rank,” Rohmann said.
Furthermore, for many, the Eagle Scout rank is special due to the lasting bonds one forms with other members in their troop. Many Scouts have been involved in the program since as early as elementary school.
“Scouting is like a second family of brothers you get to grow up with, and Eagle Scout is just the pinnacle of that journey,” said junior BJ King.
King’s Eagle Project also addressed an issue in his community that was personal to him. Since his father is a paramedic, he was familiar with an issue in the medical field where patients with autism often struggle to cope with the stress of ambulance rides.
Originally, King planned to help build 15 sensory kits for Howard County Fire & Rescue, featuring items like sunglasses, fidget toys, and headphones - these would help calm patients down in ambulances. However, with incredible fundraising support from the community, King managed to make 24 sensory kits.
“I chose this project because I wanted to do something that could have a lasting impact on a group of people in need,” King said.
King is not alone; senior Jamie Zhao also seeked to address sensory deprivation in children. He helped construct and implement a sensory walkway and sandbox to the children’s play area at Freetown Farm located in Columbia, MD.
“To allow children’s motor skills to develop, it is important for them to experience sensory stimuli, which is what my project intended to do,” Zhao said. “Throughout my work on the project, I had to correspond with the beneficiaries in almost every step of the process, as well as recruit younger scouts and adult leaders to help build the frame and dig the foundation.”
Ultimately, Eagle Scouts leave an impact that stretches much further than their local community.
Senior Ben Kim was featured in the Baltimore Sun for his Eagle Project, which helped combat growing Asian hate in Howard County.
In addition to Kim, King, Rohmann, and Zhao, other Eagle Scouts include seniors Nick Curtis, TJ Gribble, Zach Jaap, Andrew Shaefer; junior Otto Schlanger; and sophomore Dylan Rogers.
“Being able to do it all with friends and rank up together is really what builds camaraderie and makes it special,” said Rohmann.
Undeniably, Eagle Scouts at GHS make those in the community proud to be a Gladiator.