ANDOVER — Dozens of motivated young men assembled at the Wyndham Hotel on Friday night.
They were the latest class of Eagle Scouts from the Yankee Clipper Council and were honored at the annual recognition banquet. The council includes troops from Essex and Middlesex counties in Massachusetts and extends into southern New Hampshire.
One of the new Eagles earned 42 merit badges. He was only required to complete 21.
Another is a dean’s list student majoring in electrical engineering at Merrimack College.
Two twins from Andover made their mother and father doubly proud.
Every Eagle had to plan a service project and lead a team of volunteers in completing it.
“I’m not afraid to say I’m a Boy Scout,” said Jacob Padilla of Troop 1 in Haverhill. There were times when he didn’t want to tell peers he was a Scout, he said. Now that he’s earned the rank, he’s proud to say he’s not only a Boy Scout, but an Eagle Scout.
Padilla, son of Alvin and Catherine Padilla, directed other Scouts in building two wooden benches and improving the landscaping at Pentucket Lake School in Haverhill. A freshman at Gordon College, where he’s majoring in communication and theater arts, he aspires to become a filmmaker.
The toughest merit badges to earn, he said, were lifesaving and personal management. The lifesaving requirements are physically demanding. They include retrieving a 10- to 12-pound weight from the bottom of a pool and rigorous swimming.
To earn the personal management badge, a Scout must record every cent he spends for three months. There are more than 120 merit badges in just about every category imaginable. Not surprisingly, Padilla earned the theater merit badge.
Thomas Dawson, of Plaistow, N.H., is a Venture Scout. While regular Boy Scouts are 11 to 18, Venture Scouts are 14 to 21, according to Harry Taylor, adviser to Crew 345, Dawson’s unit.
Venture Scouts are connected to the Boy Scouts of America and put more emphasis on outdoor activities, Taylor said. A Boy Scout must have attained at least First Class rank before entering the Venture program, he noted.
Dawson, son of John and Shirley Dawson, is a freshman at Merrimack College, where he is studying electrical engineering and earning dean’s list grades. For his project, he led the restoration of the senior courtyard at Timberlane Regional High School, from which he graduated last year.
Matthew Byrne, of Troop 77, which meets at West Parish Church in Andover, is a freshman at Bryant University, where he is studying international business. Byrne and other Scouts working under his leadership built two kiosks for the Indian Ridge Reservation in Andover.
His toughest merit badge? Cooking, he said. Byrne, son of Frank and Susan Byrne, had to cook over an open fire and “I got a couple of burns,” he said.
Jacob Doskocil, 16, also of Troop 77, wore a sash with 42 merit badges. He only needed to earn 21 – and he had until his 18th birthday to file his application for the Eagle rank.
“I had an opportunity,” he said. “I wanted to see how much I could do.” A junior at Andover High School, he aspires to a career in engineering and computer coding.
Doskocil is the son of Douglas Doskocil and Cynthia Weeks. The Doskocils are truly a Scouting family. Douglas Doskocil is the scoutmaster of Troop 77 and earned Eagle status in 1979. His other son Sam is also an Eagle.
Timothy Larocque of Troop 13 in Lawrence oversaw the cleaning and painting of 19 hydrants in the Colonial Heights neighborhood in that city. A math major at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, he hopes to teach that subject in a high school.
Larocque, like Doskocil, is also a second-generation Eagle. His father, Michael Larocque, earned the rank in 1982. The elder Larocque has continued in Scouting as a cubmaster.
Qingliu “Leo” Wu and Qingyuan “Yen” Wu, sons of Xiangyang Wu and Heling Huang, are twins in every sense of the term. They’re both members of Troop 76, which meets at Ballardvale United Church in Andover. Seniors at Andover High School, both plan to become engineers.
When it was time for them to do their service projects, however, each had to come up with his own idea. Leo and his crew built four picnic tables and eight erosion control steps at the Goldsmith Reservation while Yen and his volunteers built three benches and 20 sign posts.
Their father said earning Eagle has given Leo and Yen “the confidence to lead.” Troop 76, led by scoutmaster Donald Milligan, “is like a family,” he said.
Anders Eldracher, a senior at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, is also a member of Troop 76. He supervised a crew that cleared a mile-long trail at the Highland Reservation.
Having earned the Eagle rank, he plans on “sticking around” and helping other Scouts in his troop.
“I don’t have anything better to do on a Friday night,” he said, referring to the time when Troop 76 meets.