By Anthony J. Machcinski
In a world where anyone can find a wealth of negativity, one group of young men continue to show that no matter how young you may be, you can make a difference.
The Boy Scouts often are the ones who undertake several projects throughout their communities, without asking a reward in return. These projects can be anything from simply cleaning an area around a church to participating in the Passaic River cleanup.
In order to achieve the highest rank in scouting –Eagle Scout–, an award only a small percentage of scouts achieve, the scout must prepare and execute an Eagle Scout project. Applicants for the Eagle project must demonstrate to a scout council that they provide a direct benefit to the community.
On Saturday, April 14, three scouts from Troop 305 in Kearny achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
“Just making Eagle (has been my most rewarding experience),” explained Kevin Ciesla, a senior at St. Peter’s Prep and one of the three Eagle Scouts honored. “It showed me that I can stick to a commitment and that I can do anything if I stick to it.”
Ciesla, along with Daniel Negroni and Robert Matos, completed their Eagle Scout projects. Negroni built memory boards for mentallyhandicapped patients while Matos repainted the Soccer Fieldhouse at Gunnel Oval.
“It was a good experience that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” Matos said. “The leadership skills I got were so valuable and I was able to have fun while doing it.”
While no one may be as proud as the Eagle Scouts being honored, parents share in the honor, watching their boys grow into young men right before their eyes.
“I remember being here two years ago when my son earned Eagle,” Kearny Police Chief John Dowie remembered, speaking to the crowd on hand. “It was one of the proudest moments of my life.”
With their Eagle Scout behind them, all the boys have college aspirations. Matos is currently a freshman at the College of New Jersey, while Negroni and Ciesla are finishing their senior years of high school and will be attending college in the fall.
In other scouting news from the area, several other potential Eagle Scouts are in the process of advancing towards their Eagle rank.
For his Eagle Scout project, Ryan Raimo, 16, a member of Queen of Peace Boy Scouts Troop 120, elected to repaint the yellow curbs along Ridge Road and all corners, plus Jauncey and Union Aves., and all the corners of Schuyler Ave., River Road and Belleville Turnpike.
Ryan said he came up with the project after talking to Public Works Supt. Jim McCabe.
“He and his helpers have done three-quarters of the town in three days,” McCabe informed the borough governing body at its April 12 meeting.
A modest Ryan insists that the credit for the job must be shared with group leader Daniel McClane, 16, a Queen of Peace sophomore and a group leader on the project, and the entire 21-member paint crew, which included two girls.
The back-breaking work was performed in three shifts during Easter break, Ryan said.
“We did it from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and from about 9 a.m. to about noon on Thursday,” he said.
Ryan, whose favorite school subjects are science and math, acknowledges that painting doesn’t happen to figure into his future plans. After graduation, he’s considering computer graphics as a possible career choice.