Daniel Sokolski’s Eagle Scout Project


Jillian Wesseldyke, Staff Writer

In the world of the Boy Scouts, being an Eagle Scout is a very big deal. This title is the highest rank someone can hold in the Boy Scouts, and it takes years of very hard work and dedication to attain, and it is a coveted title nationwide. Earning the title is a competitive process and it is not something to be taken lightly. 

Hawthorne High School’s own, senior Daniel Sokolski holds this prestigious title. He’s not only an Eagle Scout, but he’s also a very talented musician, and has been in various clubs in his time here at HHS. With all of that on his plate, he still managed to complete a project for the Environmental Commission in Hawthorne, as a part of becoming an Eagle Scout. The Clarion sat down with Daniel to discuss the making of this garden in town. 


The Clarion: How did you become an Eagle Scout, and how do you feel about holding such a prestigious title?

Daniel Sokolski: The Boy Scouts of America designates different “ranks” for members, which are a reflection of accomplishments within the troop they reside. The Eagle Rank refers to the highest rank out of all of them. This includes creating an “Eagle Project” which is essentially a large community project that is meant to exemplify good leadership, planning, and communication skills. 

Along with this, An Eagle Scout must complete a total of 21 Merit Badges, which are basically programs run by volunteer counselors who specialize in said field. For instance, one required merit badge is Communication, which involves learning about effective communication through doing various tasks such as attending town council meetings, preparing speeches, opening introductions to guest speakers and more.

They also serve as a way of exposing people to different career interests in said Merit Badge. Overall, I feel very honored to be receiving such an award as it is a display of a huge time commitment to the BSA and shows my love and dedication to Scouting as a whole, which I have been a part of since middle school. 


The Clarion: About your garden, how did you get the opportunity to work on this project?

Daniel Sokolski: My Eagle Project, which was the creation of a garden and log stools by the Boys and Girls Club on Maitland Avenue, and was originally provided to me by the Environmental Commision of Hawthorne through Mrs. Rayna Laiosa. 


The Clarion: What went into making the garden?

Daniel Sokolski: The planning and execution of the project took roughly a year. The process for completing an Eagle Project is extremely thorough and is split into 3 parts: Project Proposal, Project Revisions, and Execution/ Post Project Report.

For the Project Proposal, this involved reaching out to different local organizations and looking for the perfect project that is feasible for our troop. After finding a project, the creation of the proposal is the majority of the design phase, where a rough blueprint of what the project will be and the parameters of what will be done must be created and expressed through drawings, pictures, and descriptions.

After the proposal is reviewed by a few people from council (who will eventually judge the project after its completed), they will give a long list of critiques for the project and things that must be done before the project may actually begin. This includes contacting people to know where materials will come from, writing a spreadsheet of materials and costs, creating a rough timeline for how the project would ideally run, all the while filling out the largest portion of the Eagle Project Packet.

Along with the lining up how the project will go, a specific amount of materials must be calculated, and supported using more graphs. This phase takes the longest because of the sheer amount of things that must be taken into account to ensure a successful project. Then, after the project revisions are okayed, the project may now begin, which involves creating schedules, permission slips, collecting funding, materials, and volunteers, and ultimately starting the project.

While the project is occuring, the Eagle Scout must lead the project, through the help of adults and volunteers that they have required, and pictures from the project must support this for the final review of the project. After the project and the last portion of the packet is done, an Eagle Application form must be filled out, reviewed, and signed by said person’s 18th birthday.

The final project is then evaluated in an interview session, where council members will ask questions to the Eagle Candidate and decide whether or not the project is valid. This entire process is meant to test various aspects of the Scout which they have been working on for the past few years of their time as a part of the Boy Scouts. And because of the amount of time and effort that it takes to do this sort of project, not many succeed, with only 4% of all Scouts becoming Eagle Scouts.


The Clarion: Is there anyone you want to thank for making this project possible? 

Daniel Sokolski: I would like to thank Mrs. Rayna Laiosa and all of the Environmental Commision, Everyone from troop 30, Mr. Mitsticaughti for providing the log stools, Mr. Michael Kiolenut from Lincoln Landscaping assisting with the flowers and the design process of creating the garden, Clyde from the Home Depot in Paterson NJ for graciously providing us with a large portion of materials, the Hawthorne DPW for their help with the removal of the grass and providing us with the sign posts and varnish, and everyone else involved with that project that made this dream a reality. Special thanks goes out to Mr. Fitzsimmons and everyone else who is a part of Troop 30 for always being there for me every step of the way.

Make sure you all go out and see this amazing garden to support Dan and all his hard work and dedication to the Boy Scouts of America!