NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 16, 2013

Triton senior earns Eagle Scout rank

Project was to clean up cemetery, putting flags on unmarked graves

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall
Correspondent

---- — ROWLEY — There have been more than 50 Scouts in town who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout under the direction of leader George Pacenka. Matthew Faulkner, a senior at Triton Regional High School and member of Scout Troop 15, just joined that group.

Faulkner, who has been involved in Scouting since he was in kindergarten at the Pine Grove School, completed, along with his troop members, more than 70 hours of work cleaning the Rowley Cemetery and providing flags for all the unmarked graves, particularly those of veterans.

Faulkner’s inspiration for this project came from chats with his grandparents, who were both in the service. “This was a way to recognize them and also the many others who have served our country,” he said.

According to Pacenka, who has headed up Rowley Scouts for more than 25 years, there are about 200,000 Scouts in the United States, and only 4 percent of them make Eagle Scout, “so this is quite an achievement.”

To become an Eagle Scout, the Scout must identify a project that will help solve a problem for a nonprofit organization or the community at large. The Scout must then propose a solution to the problem and present it to the appropriate organization to get approval for the project. Then an estimate for the man hours necessary to complete the project is done and the Scout must secure and direct people to work on and finalize the project.

In addition, of the 120 merit badges available, a Scout must earn 21 of them to qualify for Eagle Scout. Each merit badge may require five to 20 items to be completed before earning that badge. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes their accomplishments.

Additionally, Faulkner was honored earlier this month by the Rowley Board of Selectmen for his achievement and received a citation for his efforts. “I think it is outstanding that we have had so many Eagle Scouts in Rowley come to us for recognition,” said Selectman Joe Perry. “It’s a wonderful achievement.”

Shirley Faulkner, Matt’s mother and also a middle school teacher at Triton, said that Scouting has been a family affair for years — both of Matt’s parents were Scouts, as was his sister.

“We believe his involvement in Scouts shaped his desire to always do his best and take responsibility for his actions,” said Shirley Faulkner, who credited Scoutmaster Pacenka with being a fantastic team builder who brings “unparalleled expertise to Scouting while still displaying an enthusiasm that is contagious.”

“As a family, we would like to thank all the adults of the Troop 15 for the work they do with Matt and all the Boy Scouts,” said Shirley.

Faulkner is set to head to Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall to study applied mathematics and operations research. Faulkner feels strongly that his experience with Scouting will serve him well there and in life in general.

“Being a Scout has taught me positive leadership and people skills and so many other practical skills that could not be learned in ordinary situations. I am definitely more confident and independent because of my Scouting experiences.”