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Waleski Earns Eagle Scout Rank

Local teen achieves highest rank in scouting with his Eagle Scout project — a cleanup of Orange Avenue School courtyard.

Jake Waleski from Boy Scout Troop 80, sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church, has earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting.

Jake started scouts in Kindergarten as a Tiger Cub. As a Boy Scout, he earned 29 merit badges. Jake served as an Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and an Instructor. As a scout, Jake participated in a 7-day canoe trek in the Adirondacks at Sabattis.

Jake is a Junior at . He is a three letter athlete participating in Varsity Soccer, Varsity Winter Track & Field and Varsity Spring Track & Field. The Varsity Track & Field 4X400 team that Jake runs recently qualified for the Penn 2012 Relays. He also plays for US PARMA on the Ragazzi U17 Soccer Team.

Jake is a member of the CHS Student Council, and a CHS PEER Leader. On April 4, 2012, Jake was inducted into the National Honor Society. He is a part-time referee for the US Soccer Federation.

Jake attended from 3rd to 8th grade and decided that OAS would be a great place to complete his Eagle project. He met with Principal Michelle Vella and Vice Principal Carmela Colosimo. Together they discussed the courtyard at OAS. The courtyard was in need of a clean-up. Jake made plans to rake, weed, till, and remove old landscaping debris and plant additional perennials. Vella and Colosimo were excited about the renovation.

Jake along with Greg Jackson from Williams Nursery of Westfield, designed a landscape plan for 3 gardens that would include 49 new plants. The majority of the perennials planted were butterfly/bird attracting plants. This will give the students the opportunity to observe the plants and how they attract different birds and butterflies. The project was finished off by the reconstruction of the existing rock border.

With the drawings in hand, Jake made a schedule for three consecutive weekends. He managed  a crew of 40 volunteers. He split the volunteers into several crews and designated an older scout as the Crew Leader for each crew. In all a total of 225 man hours successfully completed the project.

Over 650 students along with Faculty and Staff have access to the courtyard and have the opportunity to enjoy the new scenery and birds and butterflies of different species.

Jake would like to thank his family, especially his mom and dad, the OAS Faculty and Staff, his Scout leaders, fellow scouts, teammates, friends, and Girl Scout Troop 40408 for all their support during his Eagle Project. He would like to thank for donating all the plants necessary for the project. He would also like to thank the local merchants: , and — their lunch-time pizzas really kept the workers motivated — plust , Home Depot & for their generous donations.

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