Eight years ago, Buffalo’s Boy Scout Troop 2 nearly closed due to dwindling numbers.
Saturday night, three young men showed how successful the troop has become, earning Boy Scouting’s highest honor.
Three 18-year-olds set to graduate from City Honors School this week received their Eagle Scout badges during a ceremony at the Saturn Club.
Troop 2 hadn’t boasted an Eagle Scout since 1997. Luis Castro, Michael Cornacchio and Evan Hughes changed that.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” said Edward Hughes, the troop’s scoutmaster and Evan’s father. “It’s something that I never got to accomplish. ... But these boys worked really hard. They put a lot of time and effort and money into their projects. To get an Eagle Scout, it’s like finding the golden ticket from ‘Willy Wonka.’ You put that on your college application, work application – people just admire the dedication it takes to be an Eagle Scout. It takes a lot of hard work.”
It is believed to be the first class of three Eagle Scouts in at least four decades for Troop 2, which is based out of Lafayette Presbyterian Church.
To become an Eagle, Scouts must earn 22 merit badges as they move up the ranks and complete a final community service project which they select, plan and supervise.
Saturday’s honorees displayed the troop’s diversity. The Eagles are an African-American, Caucasian and Hispanic.
Castro plans to study economics at Boston University. For his project, he made a couple of trash bin holders for Forest Lawn Cemetery.
“I think everyone should want to be a good person and do good things,” Castro said. “But I think as an Eagle, it becomes a requirement of you, where other people it’s a choice. I actually think it’s something that is going to remind me for the rest of my life to constantly be a person who has a positive impact and contributes to the world and, most importantly, to the environment.”
Cornacchio will major in chemical engineering in the fall at the University at Buffalo. His project consisted of building three picnic tables for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy that were placed at the ice skating rink at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
He set a goal of becoming an Eagle three or four years ago.
“It means so much, I can hardly describe it,” Cornacchio said. “I’ve been in Scouts my whole life. To do this, not only is it huge for your résumé and who you are but just accomplishing something that took so much time, dedication and hard work is really amazingly gratifying.”
Evan Hughes will attend the Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in electrical and mechanical engineering. He made two storage benches for the Pelion Community Garden near City Honors.
“It’s kind of like a rite of passage,” Hughes said of becoming an Eagle Scout. “I’m finally becoming kind of what my definition of a man is with the required skills, the moral lessons and learning about responsibility and hardship. Going through all of that, I’ve learned all the lessons I think I need and I’m ready to take on adulthood.”