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Reading honors extraordinary class of Eagle Scouts

Posted by boston.com  February 22, 2014 10:00 AM

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Troop 728's newest Eagle Scouts. Front row: Jón Ásgeirsson, Nathan Strack, Rob Ciaccio. Back row: Jimmy Houston, Dan Staffier, Nathan Terry

The following was submitted by Sean Martin of Regan Communications:

Six Reading teens were recognized with the Boy Scouts of America's highest rank, Eagle Scout, recently at Wood End Elementary School.  The new Eagle Scouts are Reading Memorial High School seniors -- Jón Ásgeirsson, Rob Ciaccio, Dan Staffier, Nathan Strack, and Nathan Terry, and 2013 RMHS graduate Jimmy Houston.   More than 200 friends, family members, and dignitaries attended the ceremony.

All six Eagle Scouts are affiliated with Troop 728, which is sponsored by St. Agnes Church. To advance to the rank of Eagle Scout, each boy mastered various outdoor, first aid, and leadership skills and then provided leadership on a significant service project.  Less than four percent of boys who enter the Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, so to recognize six at one Boy Scout Court of Honor is almost unheard of.

Eagle Scout projects:

Jón Ásgeirsson replaced a run-down chain link fence at the parking lot of the Stoneham Memorial Seventh Day Adventist Church.  He and his team of volunteers removed the fence, replacing it with attractive granite posts that he raised funds to purchase.  He also marked the driveway with two large granite posts that the church had lying on the property unused.  Jón and his advisor, Jim Strack, secured the assistance of Tom Baille and Bond Brothers for the installation of the large granite posts.  Jón is the Drum Major and president of the RMHS Marching Band and is a programmer for the "Robockets," RMHS's first robotics team.

Rob Ciaccio's project involved creating the St. Francis Garden at St.Agnes Church.  The area was overgrown and difficult to maintain, so Rob led a team in removing the weeds, planting hardy plants and shrubs.  They also obtained a beautiful statue of St. Francis and installed a base for the statue in the garden.  What had been an eyesore is now an attractive area that everyone parking at St. Agnes sees.  At RMHS, Rob throws the discus and the javelin on the spring track team and is a member of the Alliance of Veterans and Students, Relentless, and the Right Club.

Jimmy Houston led a team in surveying a neighborhood in town, coordinating with the Fire Department to ensure the safety of Reading residents - visible address numbers can be critical in emergency situations, and difficult-to-spot or absent numbers can mean the loss of precious time for first responders. Jimmy played trumpet in the RMHS Marching, Stage, and Concert bands, participating in the bands trip to Disneyworld in April of 2013.  He was a varsity wrestler and was active in the Drama and Right Clubs. Jimmy also served as the Youth Liaison to the Board of Selectmen. He is studying computer science at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Dan Staffier led a group of volunteers in the refurbishment of the Linnaea Thelin Bird Conservation Grounds.  

The project involved  clearing the entrance of built up debris (both natural and unnatural), building a new staircase using railroad ties and stone dust, creating water diversions to prevent erosion, and re developing a long-unused trail and  three observation points.  A long neglected nature area is now much more inviting since Dan's project.  Dan is a member of the National Honor Society, the Envirothon team, and the Leo Club.

Nathan Strack involved several scouts and adult volunteers to address a long-standing drainage problem at the Church of the Good Shepherd.  He raised two concrete window wells and regraded the adjacent area to divert water runoff.  The project also involved repitching an existing gutter and connecting it to a new drywell that he and his team dug onsite.  Since the project was completed, there has been no flooding in the church basement, despite numerous heavy rains.  Nathan is a member of the RMHS Marching, Stage, and Jazz bands, the Robotics team, Model United Nations, and the Drama Club.

Nathan Terry has played and officiated at innumerable baseball and soccer games at Symonds Field.  His project involved building and installing bat houses there to alleviate the bug problem. Nathan and his volunteers built ten bat houses and installed them on 16 foot posts along the third base line.  He is a three-sport varsity athlete at RHMS: soccer, indoor track, and baseball.  Nathan is also active in the Alliance of Veterans and Students.  He participated in the Assistant Principal Selection process last year and is a long-time altar server at St. Athanasius Church.

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