Children and Youth

Eagle Scouts recognized for personal achievements, community service

Four honored at the Hollister Airport for Scouting’s highest achievement

Amidst the roar of CalFire airplanes on their missions and helicopters dropping at the hangar doors, this August more than 50 friends and families celebrated the achievement of four Hollister Eagle Scouts: Brendan Barton, Christopher Chambless, Andrew Pearson, and Liam Row. Probably one of the more unique settings for the traditional Court of Honor, the Hollister Airport museum-style hangar, courtesy of owner Hugh Bickle, fashioned a memorable backdrop for these 17-year-olds with an already long history of service to their communities.

You may have donated to Boy Scouts when they came to collect Christmas trees, posted your organization’s sign at Fourth and San Benito streets, picked up sand bags for El Niño, walked safely on handicap-accessible paths at a dog park, or sat comfortably under one of the pergolas built at the parks. These are some of their contributions to our town, work they planned and executed only after achieving a significant number of merit badges just to qualify to begin their Eagle Scout projects. This team of four, always working together, have left their mark in their hometown and along the way conquered challenges of physical endurance, social interaction, project management, and leadership for sometimes wily Cub Scouts darting here and there at day camp. Every day, they pledge to be helpful, trustworthy, brave, cheerful, and clean.

Boy Scouts boast some impressive records in the report Scouting's Bottom LineNationwide, the percentage of Scouts who earn Eagle standing is rising and in recent years has hovered between 2 percent and 6 percent. Out of 100 youth, they make of 85 percent of student council presidents; 75 percent of school publication editors; and 71 percent of football captains.

Across the nation, we see they make up 64 percent of Air Force Academy graduates; 68 percent of West Point graduates; 70 percent of Annapolis graduates; 7 percent of Rhodes Scholars; 85 percent of FBI agents; and 26 of the first 29 astronauts.

Still, even a shorter stint engaged in Scouting activities can set a youngster on a path to success. Values are universal, acceptance of diversity is high, and families pull together to make sure no one is excluded because of money. You’d be equally proud of the adults who invest so much energy in developing resilience and self-confidence in San Benito County’s youth.

A Court of Honor to recognize the highest rank of Eagle marks yet one more opportunity for Scouts, their families, and their mentors and leaders to engage in the tradition which binds all Scouts—a solemn ceremony bookended with presentation and retirement of the colors. On this day, the Eagle Scouts’ siblings did the honors while Mathieu Morin, Joshua Miller, Mary Damm, John Morin, and Chase Beasley took us through the schedule of events.

For information about Boy Scouts in San Benito County Troop 436, contact Scout Leader Bill Row at 831-917-5348. Online, see Welcome to Troop 436

Lois Locci

A Hollisterian since 1999 (and a Silicon Valley escapee), Dr. Locci taught English and Intercultural Communication at De Anza College in Cupertino for years before adding a second career as chair of the education department of UC Extension, providing professional development for teachers K-14 in four counties and three countries. Also at UC, Dr. Locci led the development of Advanced Placement® and honors courses for the University of California College Prep Online until retiring in 2012. She served a four-year term as Trustee for Gavilan Joint Community College District and currently serves on the board of BenitoLink.