The qualities and skills indicative of the rank of Eagle Scout are based on the tenets of leadership, character development, citizenship, and physical fitness. These tenets are also reflective of the caliber of character for which Saint Mary’s Hall students are known.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), achieved by only four percent of scouts since BSA’s inception in 1911. Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges and demonstrate Scout Spirit (an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership), including an extensive service project they plan, organize, lead, and manage. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes their accomplishments. In fact, alumnus John Bourland ‘20 is among an incredible select few scouts who have earned all 137 merit badges offered.
Saint Mary’s Hall has a storied history of students earning this tremendous honor with 69 SMH scouts reaching Eagle Scout status (including seven sets of siblings). The school has sponsored the Pack 496 Cub Scouts and Troop 496 Boy Scouts since 1999. There have been more than 1,000 scouts associated with SMH since that time.
SMH Technology/Facility Use Coordinator David Jorgensen, who is also an SMH parent, serves as the charter organization representative and both the pack/troop are supported by parent volunteers.
“I was the scoutmaster for the Cub Scouts and then transitioned to scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts, where I just stepped down after 12 years helping to lead both groups,” said Rick Reyna, SMH parent and vice-chair of the SMH Board of Trustees. “We camp all over the state, all over the country (including snow camping in New Mexico), and have even taken canoeing trips into Canada.”
Typically, it takes four to six years after becoming a Boy Scout to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, with more than 500 requirements among the various ranks and merit badges. Most SMH scouts begin as Cub Scouts in Forms 1 or 2 and then transition to Boy Scouts in Form 6.
Currently, the SMH Class of 2021 has a total of seven Eagle Scouts, including Michelle B. ’21 (John’s younger sister), who is one of four San Antonio teens to be among the nation's first female Eagle Scouts (see KENS 5 coverage of this historic achievement).
“Being one of the first female Eagle Scouts means being an example to younger women and girls for the rest of my life, and being responsible for showing girls that they can do just as much as their male classmates,” said Michelle.
Michelle, who has also earned the President's Volunteer Service Award (Gold Level) for four consecutive years (2016-2020), attributes being a scout and SMH student to helping to develop her leadership skills, which will also assist her in achieving her dream of owning a veterinary practice.
Along with Michelle, the Class of 2021 Eagle Scouts are Matthew G., Max R., Sam R., Karl S., Ricky R., and Tate S. Five scouts from the troop this school year have been awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, including Michelle, Trevor J. ’23, Rene R. ’23, Henry Z. ’23, as well as former SMH student Warren B.
A quintessential part of earning the rank of Eagle Scout is for the scout to conduct a service project. The Class of 2021 senior Scout projects:
- Michelle B. refurbished changing tables for the special needs campers at Children's Association for Maximum Potential.
- Matthew G. built individual storage lockers, utility carts, and laundry-drying racks for the residents at SAMMinistries.
- Ricky R. refurbished an overgrown garden and outdoor area at Serna Elementary School and built a flowerbed with plants native to Texas as well as several flowerbeds to serve as outdoor learning for students.
- Max R. distributed face shield kits and video instruction for Scouts to assemble during COVID-19, gifting them to Haven for Hope to use as personal protective equipment.
- Sam R. designed and installed a storage system for the garage used by Landa Gardens Conservancy to maintain the Landa Library Gardens.
- Karl S. power washed and painted the Lower School basketball court at SMH.
- Tate S. built four bat houses for the Headwaters Sanctuary at Incarnate Word.
Part of the SMH experience is cultivating students’ innate leadership abilities and providing opportunities for students to serve in roles of leadership and service. SMH’s participation in organized activities such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is one of the many avenues for students to grow and become leaders and stewards of the community. For a glimpse into the student experience at SMH, visit our Student Life webpage.