FROM STAFF REPORTS
Nine Aurora Eagle Scouts graduated from area high schools this spring and have earned more than $200,000 in academic scholarships.
The rank of Eagle is the highest a boy can achieve in Scouts, and only about 5 percent of all Scouts earn it.
For someone to achieve the rank of Eagle, he must complete 21 merit badges, including 13 that are required. He must be active in his troop and take a leadership role. He also must plan, develop and execute a service project that benefits an organization other than Boy Scouts.
These boys spent nearly 2,000 hours planning and executing their Eagle service projects. They earned more than 250 merit badges, including personal fitness, wilderness survival, swimming, lifesaving, emergency preparedness, mammal study, rifle and shotgun shooting, archery, engineering, business, communications, entrepreneurship and fishing just to name a few.
Scouts have the opportunity, when earning merit badges, to learn life skills, business skills, explore possible careers and learn about a new hobby. The local Scouts had a combined 3.79 grade-point average, and most were at the top of their classes.
Michael Nemeth is from Troop 265, sponsored by the Masonic Lodge. He saw a need for a way to stay warm at the sled riding hill at Sunny Lake Park, and worked with the parks and rec department to build a fire ring near the base of the hill.
He also was elected by his peers to become a brotherhood member in the Order of the Arrow, an honorary Boy Scout group, and was a member of the Aurora High School varsity grid team.
"My favorite high school memory was playing under the Friday night lights."
He attended Buckeye Boys State, was a member of the National Honor Society and a freshipman mentor. "As I got older I started to realize how rewarding Scouting is and how impactful the journey is on all aspects of life," he said.
He plans to attend Case Western Reserve University to study pre-medicine and major in neurobiology.
David Allen is a member of Troop 269 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. He was a four-year member of the AHS boys tennis team, was active in the National Honor Society and the freshmen mentor program and plans to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Dayton.
Allen's project consisted of building and installing a chimney swift tower at the Moebius Nature Center. It serves as a home for many of the area's birds. He also cleared the area around the pond of invasive plants.
Mario Cribari is active in Troop 269. "My favorite Scouting memory is the district camping trip to Gettysburg," he said. "We learned about the importance of the battle and camped and walked fields where soldiers fought.
Cribari said it became difficult to stay involved in Boy Scouts because of a challenging course load in school and his extracurricular activities.
In addition to several AP classes, including his favorite -- chemistry -- Cribari was a member of the Greenmen track team, International Club and Quiz Bowl team.
"Boy Scouts instilled so many profound qualities in me like loyalty, commitment and perseverance," he said. "These traits will stick with me and help me in all of my future endeavors."
He hopes to become a medical doctor and will attend Xavier University this fall, studying chemistry and biology with a focus on pre-med.
Brian Wessels plans to attend Kent State University to study computer science and become a network systems analyst. He was a member of Troop 269, and shared his knowledge as a camp counselor for the sixth-graders at Harmon School.
He was involved in sports as a varsity letterman on the swim team, and helped out at a learning community for autistic adults. His service project benefitted Hiram Farm, a project born out of the desire to provide inspiration and meaningful work for the individual growth of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
His project was building several heavy-duty picnic tables, and he built 16 large raised plots for vegetable gardening, products from which are sold at a farmers market.
Brett Poremba of Troop 269 built a brick walkway/border along the parking area in front of Craddock School. The border was needed to reduce erosion and prevent dirt and mud from being tracked into the school.
He will attend the Cleveland Institute of Art. He was a member of the marching and symphonic bands and served as drum major, and participated in the indoor drum line, show choir, chamber choir, theater, drama club and cross country.
"Even with all the activities I was involved with in school, the community and church, I managed to accomplish my goal of Eagle Scout," he said. "Parents and leaders in the troop know how tough it is to manage everything, and they work with you to help you achieve the goal."
Thomas Reidy of Troop 269 was a member of the AHS Quiz Bowl team, National Honor Society, Key Club, freshmen mentor program, served as an officer for the International Club and was a letterman on the golf team.
"I was involved in a plethora of extracurricular activities, tutoring and AP classes and still had time to learn from the unparalleled leadership experiences Boy Scouts provided that will benefit me for years to come," he said.
He plans to attend Clemson in South Carolina and major in biomedical engineering.
Aaron Sekela attended Aurora schools and graduated from ECOT online. He is a member of Troop 269. His project involved building a chapel in the woods at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
He was a member of the orchestra at Aurora, and said Scouting provides great memories and learning opportunities. "My favorite was travelling at age 14 to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico with a bunch of my buddies," he said.
Mitch Pollock of Troop 269 graduated from Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, but his Eagle project benefitted the Aurora schools. He built a landscape barrier between the walkways from the AHS football locker rooms.
"I chose to do this as a living memorial for Paulie McGhee," he explained.
At WRA, he was involved with theater and editor of the school newspaper. He lettered in cross country and track, and will study engineering at Vanderbilt.
Philip Ellis of Troop 269 built a children's reading garden at Aurora Memorial Library for his project. He graduated from WRA, where he ran track and cross country and was on the riflery team.
He will travel to Scotland in the fall to attend Dollar Academy for a year. He plans to return to the States and study international relations at American University starting in fall 2015.
To learn more about Boy Scouts and Troops 265 and 269, visit www.troop269.org or call David Stafford at 330-995-0277. Boys Scouts are open to boys ages 11 to 17. Boys interested in fishing, camping and having fun can join Cub Scouts as early as first grade.