This proud Scouting mom was not throwing away her shot.
Jennifer Smyke knows how much her son, Carter, loves the musical Hamilton.
So when Carter finished the requirements for the Eagle Scout award, Scouting’s highest honor, Jennifer took a chance and contacted Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created the wildly popular show.
Much to her surprise, the gamble paid off. The Pulitzer-, Tony-, Grammy- and Emmy-winning Miranda responded with a hand-written note.
“It is a tremendous achievement and you should be so proud of all your hard work and dedication,” Miranda wrote. “Here’s wishing you a bright, successful future. Go Troop 280!”
Jennifer later surprised Carter with the letter.
The Eagle Scout from Troop 280 of the Cleveland-based Lake Erie Council struggled to find words.
“I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was,” Carter tells me. “It was the most unbelievable thing to happen.”
The letter from Lin-Manuel Miranda is just the latest example of high-profile figures sending congratulatory letters to Eagle Scouts. Other Eagle Scouts have received responses from Stephen Colbert, LeBron James, Chris Hemsworth and many more.
The reason why it happened
Like many of us, Jennifer and Carter listened to the Hamilton cast album on repeat for years.
They saw the musical when it stopped in Cleveland in summer 2018.
When Carter worked on his Eagle project — building picnic tables at the Painesville Township Park — Hamilton played in the background.
Jennifer found a contact for Miranda online and reached out.
“Getting my Eagle award was the greatest achievement of my life — that was only enhanced by receiving the letter from Mr. Miranda,” Carter says.
Some Twitter positivity
Jennifer didn’t hesitate to post a picture of the note on Twitter, tagging Miranda in the post.
“You made my son’s year with this note!!” she wrote. “Thank you so much for taking the time to send this to him.”
A few hours later, Miranda “liked” the tweet. That action ensured Jennifer’s tweet would be seen by more Twitter users than if Miranda hadn’t “liked” it.
— Jennifer Smyke (@JenSmyke) May 9, 2019
Comments on the tweet were overwhelmingly positive.
“All of the sudden I want to be an Eagle Scout,” one poster wrote.
“I cant get over the fact that there is a human being out there who puts out a little time and effort to praise the conquers of kids THIS IS JUST SO AMAZING,” another tweeted.
Share your letter
Have you or your Scout received an Eagle letter from someone famous? Email us with the photo and story.
Support the Eagle Scout Scholarship Fund
Contribute to the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) Scholarship Fund. Donations to this fund go directly to providing scholarships to deserving Eagle Scouts, allowing them to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact on the world.Donate Today