Local teens earn Scouting’s highest honor

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 11:49
  • From left, local teens Jacob Lestina, Jeremy Smith and Caleb Lattier recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout during a Court of Honor ceremony on Jan. 29. Lestina and Lattier are students at Chugiak High while Smith attends Alaska Middle College School.
  • Photo courtesy of Keira Dreher
  • Photo courtesy of Keira Dreher
  • Eagle Scout Jacob Lestina. (Courtesy photo)
  • Eagle Scout Jacob Lestina poses for a photo with his family following a Court of Honor ceremony. (Courtesy photo)
  • Eagle Scouts Caleb Lattier, Jeremy Smith and Jacob Lesina became Eagle Scouts during a Ring of Honor ceremony. (Courtesy photo)
  • Eagle Scout Jeremy Smith (Courtesy photo)
  • Photo courtesy of Keira Dreher

A trio of local 17-year-olds were awarded the rank of Eagle Scout during a Court of Honor ceremony held Jan. 29.

Earning the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor were Jacob Lestina, Jeremy Smith and Caleb Lattier, all of whom are members of Troop 222.

All three completed community service projects in order to earn their badges.

Two of the projects were completed at the Eagle River Nature Center, where Lestina remodeled three volunteer cabins and Smith built a rock garden. Lattier’s project was

A junior at Chugiak High, Lestina is also a member of the National Honor Society, the Tey Club and participates in track and field, cross country and skiing. He loves his family and his dog, Buddy, according to biographies of each of the three scouts submitted to the Star.

“The Eagle project Jacob completed was to remodel the 3 volunteer cabins at the Eagle River Nature Center,” reads Lestina’s bio. “He raised money, solicited donations, designed the remodel, collected the tools needed, and recruited volunteers to help on construction day. Once complete, each cabin had a new wood bed frame, table, coat racks and hooks. They also improved the cabin stairs and redid the area’s fire pit.”

Lestina said scouting helped him learn leadership skills and become a more independent thinker.

A junior at Alaska Middle College School, Smith said working to improve landscaping at the Eagle River Nature Center was a rewarding project.

“I chose and designed this because many visitors pass through the Nature Center every year and having a peaceful atmosphere would only add to their experience, especially those who visit from out of state,” he said. “The project experience was overwhelming at first, but became a lot of fun. I learned how to lead a group and the experience taught me life skills for my future. I have even kept an eye on the growth of my project since completion August 2018. It’s neat to see how the plants have grown.”

A senior at Chugiak High, Lattier is also on the track and field team and participated in Partners Club athletics this fall by helping to mentor a teammate with special needs.

Lattier’s project was making 100 wooden toy cars for the Sleeping Lady Lions Club annual toy drive.

“Each car has a sticker on the bottom showing the support of me and the BSA, letting kids know that ther eare people in their own community that care about them,” Lattier wrote.

He agreed that scouting has helped him develop strong leadership skills.

“Like many other youth, it’s hard to picture my life without Scouting,” he said. “I learned a lot of things that I may not have learned anywhere else. I have also made new friends in my Scouting Group and I have met people from all over the world, all of them super amazing, no doubt because of this program. I know I can handle a gun, shoot an arrow, build a fire, paddle a canoe, build a shelter, use a knife, save a life and about a million other skills. No, I don’t get to show off my sweet whittling skills every day, but the subconscious memory of those capabilities has a way of putting everyday challenges into perspective. I’m glad I was a Boy Scout and grateful to receive my Eagle Award.”

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