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Bishop Diego Eagle Scouts Make School History

Seven recent graduates attain the highest possible rank in the Boy Scouts program

Seven Bishop Garcia Diego High School graduates made school history just before commencement in June. A remarkable 25 percent of the men in Bishop’s graduating class achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, joining a fraternity of 2 million Boy Scouts who have earned the rank since 1912.

That is well above the national average of 5 percent of all Boy Scouts who achieve the rank of Eagle, which is the highest rank attainable in the program.

The “Aims of Scouting” are moral strength and character development, citizenship training, and physical and mental fitness. To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills. Of the 120 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle rank and all provisions must be met before age 18.

One of the last steps to Eagle rank is to plan, develop and provide leadership to others in a service project helpful to a religious institution, school or community. Progression to Eagle means that a Scout learns, is tested, reviewed and recognized.

Those benefiting from the seven Eagle Scout projects include the Liberty Tree Memorial project at the Goleta Union School District, St. Vincent’s outreach programs in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, the Goleta Valley Girls’ Softball Association, the Casa Esperanza shelter for the homeless, the Santa Barbara Catholic Charities Food Pantry, and Bishop Garcia Diego High School’s Library and Storyteller Children’s Center for homeless and at-risk children.

In seven separate ceremonies, before troop members, peers, family and friends, each Scout was recognized and presented with an Eagle Scout badge.

Members of Troop 105, sponsored by Knights of Columbus Council 5300 — St. Raphael Parish, include Sam Verhasselt, David Pilkington, J. “Patrick” Burgess, Michael Schlesselmann and Joe Yonke. Brendan O’Connell and Daniel Helkey are members of the oldest troop west of the Mississippi, Troop 1 of United Methodist.

The young men will attend the following college and universities in the fall: Loyola Marymount University, UC Berkeley, George Washington University, UC San Diego, Santa Clara University, the University of Oregon and Emmanuel College.

— Debbie Herrera is the director of admissions and public relations at Bishop Garcia Diego High School.

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