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Community Service Projects Pave Way to Eagle Scout Status

From footbridges for hikers to garden beds for a school that serves special-needs students, Eagle Scouts in the East Grand Rapids High School Class of 2014 have left their mark on the community through projects and years of service for Boy Scouts of America.

High School Principal Jenny Fee and the EGR Board of Education recently recognized six seniors who have earned the Eagle Scout rank: Andrew Griffin, Troy Gotch, Zak Longo, T.J. Strickland, Andrew Koski and Peter Donnelly. Only 4 percent of scouts have earned the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouts of America since 1912, according to information from Boy Scouts of America.Senior Peter Donnelly created garden beds for Lincoln Development Center

Five of the scouts have worked up the ranks together in Troop 271, through Mayflower Congregational Church, 2345 Robinson Road SE. Andrew Griffin is a member of Troop 305, in Comstock Park.

To achieve the Eagle Scout rank, scouts have to earn at least 21 merit badges and complete an extensive service project.

Making a Difference

Andrew built a 16-foot footbridge at John Ball Park, 1300 West Fulton Street, in Grand Rapids, to improve a hiking trail. He shared his ideas with other scouts who will build a second footbridge there.

Troy’s project included fixing up an old barn at Grand Rapids International Fellowship, 3765 Kalamazoo Ave. SE. He relocated it, replaced shingles, replaced a roof panel, painted it and added shelves. Refugees from Burma and Vietnam will use it for their community garden, which is adjacent to the barn.

Senior Troy Gotch stands in front of his Eagle Scout project, which will provide storage for a community garden at Grand Rapids International FellowshipZak painted, added benches, weeded and spread sand to spruce-up a playground at Kentwood Community Church, 1200 60th St. SE.

Andrew worked with the City of East Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department to add mile markers around the trail that circles Reeds Lake.

Peter built several 4-foot by 8 foot raised garden beds for Lincoln Development Center, a school for special-needs students, at 862 Crahen Ave, NE, where his brother, Joseph, attends.

“Becoming an Eagle Scout is a good goal. It actually feels like you are making a difference,” Troy said.


Boy Scouts of America

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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