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Two seniors earn Eagle Scout rank

Seniors Matthew Nokes and Sam LaMaster recently were named Eagle Scouts by the Boy Scouts of America, the highest rank  in Boy Scouts and one that requires advancement through several ranks, the earning of more than 20 merit badges, and organizing a service project. Both belong to Boy Scout Troop 4010 at St. Anthony Parish and have been in Scouting since first grade.

Sam’s project was to design, build, and install shelving in a gym loft and maintenance building at St. John Paul II School in Sellersburg. He spent 188 hours overall including planning and on-site work. With the help of his grandfather and father, Brian LaMaster ’89, who are skilled at woodworking, he was able to design the shelves, and he then organized several work days to install them with the help of members of his troop and some of his friends.

His father donated the wood for the shelves, having saved it for another project and then didn’t need it. Sam then asked family to contribute money for the rest of the supplies, raising about $100.

Sam said he learned a lot in organizing the project and fulfilling all the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank.

“It felt like a good opportunity for me to use all the skills from my years in Scouting,” Sam said. “I finally had a chance to put all those together and have an application for them. It also proved my leadership skills overall.”

He said he feels a great relief having completed the project and the process to apply for the rank advancement. Often, the Eagle Scout rank is a culminating experience for a Boy Scout, but Sam said he intends to stay involved. He enjoys the troop’s service projects, such as helping at Lanesville Heritage Weekend, and the troop’s adventures. Every other summer, the troop has taken a big trip. He took part in one to Alaska that included mountain climbing and white water rafting in Class 4 rapids and one to northern Minnesota canoeing along the Canadian border, which was the more difficult because it was a survival trip that required them to fish for food.

Matthew also feels a great relief having his Eagle Scout project complete. Although the project required only 130 hours of works time, the process was spread over 18 months because the parameters of the project changed within a few months of his starting on it. Last October, he completed the rebuilding and repairing of the Stations of the Cross trail at Mount Saint Francis. He also built two benches and put down gravel and did some landscaping along the trail.

Matthew had a total of 35 people helping him over 12 work days and raised about $300 from families at St. Anthony Parish. His grandfather also donated wood for the project. Planning all those elements and coordinating all the volunteers was more difficult than he thought it would be, he said. Now that he is finished he feels a great deal of satisfaction, especially since he was able to work on a project where people will pray.

“I was very glad I could do a project that coincided with my faith,” Matthew said. “I’m glad to help Mount Saint Francis because I go there a lot on campouts and for some retreats. It felt good to help them out.”

Coincidentally, another Providence Boys Scout once worked on the same project. Andrew Marking ’11, now head groundskeeper at Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport, Iowa, replaced all the crosses on the trail for his Eagle Scout project.

Matthew said he has enjoyed being a Boy Scout, especially going on summer trips. His favorite was the survival skills trip to Minnesota.

“It definitely builds your character and life skills,” he said. “It teaches you things you wouldn’t get out of a typical youth program.”

Completing his Eagle Scout rank gives him a great sense of accomplishment and also allows him to look back to see how his past activities and achievements have led up to that final award.

“I feel like I’ve learned so much, and I’m glad I have something to show for it,” Matthew said.

Matthew plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington and is considering several majors, including history and several foreign languages. Sam plans to attend the University of Louisville and major in mechanical engineering.

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