Eight Hazelwood District Students Are Eagle Scouts

Eight Hazelwood School District students earned the rank Eagle Scout, the highest honor a Boy Scout can earn.

Sophomore David Benjamin, junior Jeffrey Craig and seniors Chris Singleterry and Marques Smith from Hazelwood Central High School and juniors William Dixon and Justin Ruester and seniors Jordan Fusco and A.J. Kissner IV from Hazelwood West High School recently attained that rank.

The Eagle Scout Award is a performance-based achievement. To earn it, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in leadership, service and outdoor skills. A number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks and a Boy Scout must pass specific tests that are organized by requirements and merit badges. To become an Eagle Scout, boys must plan, develop and lead a service project helpful to a religious institution, school or their community.

Hazelwood Central and West high school students explained their Eagle Scout projects.

“I built two tables for the GALACTIC center,” said Craig, who has been in Scouts since first-grade. The tables are octagonal-shaped and are used in the children’s outdoor play area. “It took about two weeks and people in my troop and my parents both helped out. This project taught me a lot about planning and going forward with plans. The teachers tell me the students and teachers use the tables a lot so it’s nice to know I helped out.”

Singleterry, who has also served in Scouts since first-grade, beautified a 105-square foot area at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park. He started with a shed full of junk.

“We cleaned it out and restored the shed,” said Singleterry. “Then we put a bench near the shed and painted the bench, cleaned up the area around shed and put a new roof on it.”He said the project took approximately two days and he had 10 people assisting him, including family members.

Benjamin, another Boy Scout since first-grade, worked on a log cabin that is in Old Town Florissant, near the intersection of Washington Street and New Florissant Road.

“Originally, the cabin had been traded by a family to the City of Florissant with the condition the city can use the land around it as long as it maintains the cabin,” he said. “When Florissant erected a water tower, it moved the cabin maybe 40 feet and the covered porch crumbled.”

Benjamin and his crew installed a new porch, which took two days to install. They re-shingled the roof and added cement footings for support.

Smith, whose troop is based in St. Louis City, described his project.

“My project was to put out flower boxes, lay out stepping stones and to build a swing with a canopy at a senior residential home in St. Charles,” said Smith. “I feel good about doing it and I feel like I did something nice for the home.”

At Hazelwood West, Ruester, who has been in Scouts since first-grade, said he created a fitness trail in Pershall Park, which is on Fee Fee Road. The trail has stations for push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and a balance beam.  “I feel relieved that it’s done,” he said.

Dixon used an Internet search engine to locate other Eagle Scout project ideas. His project carried a patriotic theme.

“I made 300 pocket United States flags to distribute to soldiers at Ft. Leonard Wood,” he said. “My grandfather was a prisoner-of-war during World War II and I wanted to do something nice since I didn’t know him very well. It was something nice for me to honor him with.”

Kissner’s project is already in use at the school. “I made a bookcase for Gerold Nave,” he said. Nave is one of the school’s assistant principals. “It is in his office here at West. It has four shelves.” He said he started it in December and finished in February.

Fusco’s project was more involved and entirely outdoors.

“Using PVC pipes, I built crappie beds in the bottom of the Lake of the Ozarks,” he said, describing habitats for a popular species of game fish. “The beds will promote fishing habitats in the lake and lure fishermen to the lake and help the economy.”

He said it took four to six months to complete the project. First, he had to obtain permission from Ameren Missouri Shoreline, which owns the land adjacent to that section of the lake and from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

To build the beds, sometimes referred to as Christmas tree crappie beds, Fusco and his team started by filling 15 plastic buckets with cement until each was half-full. Before the cement hardened, they inserted six-inch diameter sections of PVC pipe into the buckets.    Previously, they bored holes into those pipes and inserted smaller diameter PVC cross pipes. He then roughened the ends of the cross pipes with sandpaper, which will promote algae growth. The entire bed was then lowered into the lake. (story courtesy of the Hazelwood District Communications. Dept.)

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