Jack Kerns of Weston earns Eagle Scout

Jack Kerns built a greenhouse at the Weston Middle School for his Eagle Scout service project requirement.

Jack Kerns built a greenhouse at the Weston Middle School for his Eagle Scout service project requirement. —Patricia Gay photo

A Boy Scout who likes to help his school and others is Weston’s newest Eagle Scout.

Jack Kerns, 17, the son of John and Nadine Kerns, and a junior at Weston High School, was recently awarded the rank of Eagle Scout by Troop 788 at an Eagle Court of Honor at Norfield Church.

The rank of Eagle Scout is Boy Scouting’s highest achievement and requires years of dedication and hard work. Eagle Scouts must earn a total of 21 merit badges that focus on citizenship, first aid and lifesaving, and personal goals such as fitness and communication.

Eagle Scouts also must serve in various leadership roles within the troop throughout their scouting career and perform community service. Only 5% of all Boy Scouts attain the rank of Eagle.

Jack achieved 26 merit badges in the course of his scouting career. His favorite was the Wilderness Survival badge, which required him to survive in the woods at Camp Sequassen in New Hartford.

One of his more memorable scouting experiences was participating in the 100th National Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia last year. “There were more than 40,000 Boy Scouts there from all over the world. It was awesome,” he said.

At the high school, Jack plays guitar and trombone and is a member of the jazz band. He is also a student representative on the town’s Commission for Children and Youth.

Eagle project

Each Eagle Scout must complete a service project, which includes finding a beneficiary, presenting the proposal to both the local and district scouting committees, raising funds and managing scouts and adults, and bringing the project to fruition.

For his Eagle project, Jack worked with assistant superintendent Ken Craw, who at the time was the principal of Weston Middle School, and Dan Clarke, schools facilities director, to design and build a greenhouse at the middle school.

“I wanted to build something permanent that people would benefit from — something with a tangible aspect,” Jack said.

A participant in the school’s science olympiad competition, Jack loves science, so he decided to build a greenhouse in order create a place for students to study plants and ecology. “I wanted to give something back to the middle school curriculum,” he said.

The new greenhouse is located in a courtyard on the side of the middle school. The project combined Jack’s interests in science and math, as well as engineering.

“For the greenhouse, I used a lot of the skills I learned from my high school math and engineering classes,” he said.

Jack raised approximately $600 for the project and received a donation and discount on supplies from Ring’s End Lumber in Wilton. Nardi Masonry donated gravel used as a floor for the greenhouse.

From start to finish, Jack logged nearly 200 hours to complete the project, and managed more than 20 scouts and adults who helped. The greenhouse was completed last winter.

“Members from Troop 788 really came together to help me on this project. I had help from the youngest boys to some of my peers. There were some challenges in building the greenhouse, but thankfully Mr. Steven Delay — whose son is also an Eagle Scout — is a master carpenter and lent his expertise.”

Once his final service project was completed, Jack presented it to the district representatives before it was approved on the national level.

Default moral compass

The scouting program has meant a lot to Jack, and the things he has learned from it guide him through his daily life. “It is my default moral compass. When I am faced with a moral issue I turn to what I have learned in scouting and incorporate that into my life,” he said.

The Boy Scout law has 12 qualities that Boy Scouts are expected to embody: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

“These are all very positive qualities and affect how I hold myself and live my life,” Jack said.

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