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Eight young men from Warren County earn rank of Eagle Scout

Scouting has played and continues to play, a significant role in the lives of Vicksburg’s youth.

In a 1963 centennial edition of the Vicksburg Evening Post, it was reported that more than 1,000 boys and girls were participating in Girl and Boy Scout programs in the River City.

Scouting programs promote leadership, academic and leadership skills, as well as teamwork.

For nearly 100 years, Boy Scout Troop 102 has facilitated opportunities for youth to grow in these areas, and this past Saturday, during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony, eight local young men were recognized for their achievement in obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

Tyler Smith, Chandler Stanchfield, Lex Styles, Caleb Whitney, Garrett Hopkins, Logan Johnson, Andy Jennings and Morgan Rogillio have now reached Eagle Scout.

“These are great kids,” Troop 102 Scout Master David Rogillio said. “Seeing them honored made me feel like a proud dad.” In fact, one of those honored, Morgan, is David’s son.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is the highest achievement in the Boy Scouts of America Program, with only six percent of eligible scouts obtaining the rank.

To become an Eagle Scout, David said, it is a combination of earning merit badges, displaying certain skills, participating in leadership positions within the troop and service to the community.

The rank of Eagle Scout must be obtained by the scout’s 18th birthday.

With so many competing extracurricular activities, staying focused on the goal can be a challenge, David said.

Jennings, who recently graduated from St. Aloysius, said becoming an Eagle Scout was worth the sacrifices.

“I have to say receiving the award was absolutely worth it in every single way. It was very difficult to get to, but in the end, it paid off. It was definitely something that I am happy I stuck with,” Jennings said.

Jennings credited his mother and others for giving him the support and encouragement to stay the course.

“I didn’t stick with it just on my own. I had a whole team of people really motivating me to continue forward with it. My biggest motivator was my mother,” Jennings said. “She was really the person who helped me push through.”

For Whitney, who is a rising high school junior, watching the older scouts in his troop inspired him to obtain his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.

“It was a lot of hard work toward it (becoming an Eagle Scout), but I can remember when I joined I was like the young scout and I always looked up to the older guys,” Whitney said.

And now that he is an “older guy,” Whitney said, even though he has become an Eagle Scout, he will continue to help out with the troop.

One of the most valuable lessons learned on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout, Whitney said, was serving in leadership roles.

“I would definitely not have gotten the leadership skills in the same capacity if not for the scouting program,” he said.

These leadership skills are demonstrated in the service project each prospective Eagle Scout must plan, organize and complete.

The Eagle Scout projects completed by the scouts honored were:

  • “Food Pantry Bathroom” — Smith planned and led a full renovation of the Storehouse Community Food Pantry’s restrooms, including bathroom stall construction and installation of fixtures.
  • “The Nuns’ Garden Clearing Project”  — Stanchfield planned and led a team in the clearing of a historic garden at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation so that it may be brought back to its former glory by a local gardening club.
  • “Micah’s Mission Sensory Boards”  — Styles planned and led others in building and assembling sensory boards for the students of Micah’s Mission School. These boards help students with fine motor skills and sensory development.
  • “Workbenches for the Foundry”  — The Foundry is an organization dedicated to teaching fatherless boys life skills. Whitney planned and led a team that built eight rolling workbenches to provide workspace for The Foundry’s new shop.
  • “Heritage House Retirement Center Beautification”  — Hopkins planned and led the installation of birdhouses and bird feeders, the establishment of a garden bed and the replacement of 16 feet of wooden fencing.
  • “Benches for Vicksburg Dog Park”  — Johnson planned and led the construction of three covered benches for the City of Vicksburg’s new dog park.
  • “Raised Dog Beds”  — Jennings planned and led the construction of 10 raised animal beds to benefit the Vicksburg-Warren Humane Society.
  • “St. Michael’s Recycling Project” — Morgan planned and led the clearing of St. Michael’s church basement of all recyclable, donatable and scrap items. A recycling bin was constructed and the front steps and pathway were pressure washed.

David said Troop 102 has between 18 and 19 scouts who participate the credited parental support as to why there were eight who received their Eagle Scout rank this year.

He also said the success of the troop was due in part to the parents’ participation.

“There is absolutely no way I could do this by myself,” he said. “I have got some very good parents and adult leadership that helps me.”

The Eagle Scout Award was first introduced in 1911.

The prestigious achievement is recognized by college admission officers. Eagle Scouts are eligible for many scholarships, every branch of the U.S. military allows Eagle Scouts to enter at a higher rank and pay grade, and many employment recruiters look for “Eagle Scout” on a resume.

“To me becoming an Eagle Scout is almost synonymous with growing up,” Morgan said. “I started Cub Scouts when I was very young and have now been in the scouting program most of my life.

“Achieving Eagle was always way in the future for me, so now that I have earned it, I feel like I am ready to start the next steps in my life,” he said. “To others wanting to achieve Eagle, I would say to enjoy every experience given to you by scouts and to not quit, because it is worth it in the end.”

Smith is a rising senior at Warren Central High School, while Johnson is a rising junior at St. Aloysius. 

Whitney is a rising junior at River City Early College, as is Styles. 

Morgan Rogillio, Stanchfield and Jennings are recent St. Aloysius graduates, while Hopkins recently graduated from Warren Central High School.

Styles is the son of Richard and Renee Styles. Smith is the son of Ernie and Jane Smith. Stanchfield is the son of Scott and Toni Stanchfield. Whitney is the son of Chandler and Alison Whitney. Rogillo is the son of David and the late Helen Rogillo. Jennings is the son of Susan Jennings. Hopkins is the son of Ashley G. Hopkins and Tracy L. Turner. Johnson is the son of David Johnson and Lee Carroll.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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