The one underrated reason why all of this troop’s high school seniors are Eagle Scouts

Fourteen of Troop 501's 15 Eagle Scout graduates gathered for a photo. The Scouts in maroon neckerchiefs were still completing their final requirements when the photo was taken.

A remarkable 15 Eagle Scouts from a single troop graduated high school together last month, carrying Scouting’s proven mix of hands-on leadership training and character development with them into the next chapter of life.

The Scouts — 14 of whom are pictured above — are members of Troop 501 of Medina, Ohio, part of the BSA’s Great Trail Council.

So how did this happen? In an age of endless extracurricular options and a high-pressure high school environment, how did every last one of Troop 501’s seniors reach his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout?

It’s all about the Eagle coach, says Troop 501 committee chairman Paul Dexheimer.

A mentor and guide

“Each Life Scout selects an Eagle coach who is not a parent,” Dexheimer says. “This adult guides them, stays on them, helps with project ideas and keeps in constant contact with the advancement chair, Scoutmaster corps and even district to see that everything is coming together.”

The Eagle hopeful still must do all the work — in Troop 501 or any troop.

But nothing in the rules implies that young people walk this path to Eagle alone.

An Eagle coach — known in other troops as an Eagle mentor — can help answer procedural questions, provide feedback about merit badges and Eagle project ideas, and share wisdom gained from working with Scouts who came before.

That formula certainly worked in Troop 501, which had a perfect record: 15 for 15.

And speaking of numbers, these Eagle Scouts combined for more than 1,200 hours of service to their small city of Medina — about 30 miles south of Cleveland.

Meet the Scouts

Back row, from left:

  • Michael Michalec
    • Eagle project: Michael and his helpers built a bench that converts into a picnic table for Austin Badger Park in Medina County, Ohio.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend the University of Akron, where he plans to study electrical engineering.
  • Andrew Ziogas
    • Eagle project: Andrew and his helpers developed the curriculum and taught a class showing senior citizens how to use iPads. The class, presented at the local library, covered the basic operation of the iPad, navigation, downloading apps, taking pictures and browsing the internet.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he plans to study computer sciences.
  • Matthew Christopher Rojas
    • Eagle project: Matthew and his helpers built a large walking ramp over vernal pools at Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park in Medina County. The ramp allows hikers to pass through without disturbing the natural flow of water that is vital to the park’s ecosystem.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend Kent State University, where he plans to study marketing and business.
  • Nick Donoughe
    • Eagle project: Nick and his helpers designed, created and delivered a four-day educational class on the outdoors for children in the first through fifth grades. The repeatable class covered camping, cooking, first-aid and general outdoors behavior.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend Kent State University.
  • Zachary Joseph Koneval
    • Eagle project: Zachary and his helpers built six backless benches for the dog park at Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park in Medina County.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend the University of Akron, where he plans to study mechanical engineering.
  • Andrew Root
    • Eagle project: Andrew and his helpers built a gaga ball pit for his church, enhancing the church’s opportunities for recreation, youth group events and team-building activities.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he plans to study engineering physics and be a member of the Air Force ROTC.
  • Calvin Whipple
    • Eagle project: Calvin and his helpers built a podium and altar table for the outdoor chapel at Medina United Methodist Church.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend Ohio University, where he plans to study aviation and become a commercial airline pilot.

Front row, from left:

  • Jeff Hurst
    • Eagle project: Jeff and hie helpers built a map kiosk designed to hold course maps and race information for the Medina High School cross-country course.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend Kent State University, where he plans to study aviation technology and become a pilot.
  • Joe Desario
    • Eagle project: Joe and his helpers built a flag box and collected 100 flags for proper retirement during a ceremony Joe conducted.
    • What’s next: He’s enlisted in the Army National Guard. After boot camp, he’ll attend Bowling Green State University with plans to major in history and participate in the ROTC
  • Benjamin Prock
    • Eagle project: Benjamin and his helpers built a flag box for the VFW to collect for flags due for retirement.
    • What’s next: He’ll enter the workforce.
  • Jonathan Dexheimer
    • Eagle project: Jonathan and his helpers built two GPS geocaching challenge courses of varying distances and raised additional funding for handheld GPS units for Hidden Hollow Camp, a county-owned program venue in Medina County.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend Kent State University, where he plans to study music technology
  • Andrew Kotick
    • Eagle project: Andrew and his helpers built nine map kiosks along the trails of Austin Badger Park in Medina County to help community members navigate and learn the park’s tricky layout.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend Kent State University, where he plans to study flight technology and become a commercial airline pilot.
  • Ian Joseph Rose
    • Eagle project: Ian and his helpers built a recycling collection center that looks like a house. The center will store donated aluminum cans. Habitat for Humanity volunteers will recycle those cans and use the funds to support the nonprofit’s cause.
    • What’s next: He’ll join the workforce as an Automotive Service Excellence-certified auto body technician.
  • Joe Brick
    • Eagle project: Joe and his helpers built a gaga pit for Claggett Middle School in Medina, making recess time fun and encouraging the students to be more active.
    • What’s next: He plans to attend college in 2020 and study business.

Not pictured:

Alex could not get out of his work obligations on the day that worked for the photographer.

  • Alex Miller
    • Eagle project: Alex and his helpers built a blessing box at St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church to collect nonperishable items.
    • What’s next: He’ll attend the University of Cincinnati, where he plans to study engineering.

Further listening

For more on the Scouts BSA advancement trail — and your role in supporting young people along that journey — check out the March 2019 episode of Scouting magazine’s ScoutCast, the BSA’s monthly podcast.

About Bryan Wendell 2854 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.