"Well done is better than well said."
-- Benjamin Franklin
I was beginning to doze off when my wife, Mary, interrupted my train of thought. Aggie, her girlfriend, wanted to know if we would be interested in attending her grandson's Boy Scout Court of Honor ceremony.
"Yes," I replied. Mary shot back that she wasn't asking for my 2 cents. She was just letting me know she'd already accepted for the two of us.
In case you're not familiar with the Boy Scout Court of Honor, it's a formal ceremony to recognize those boys who have completed all the requirements to attain the highest rank in Scouting, the Eagle award.
For that award, a Scout must have earned 21 merit badges in such areas as citizenship, personal fitness, environmental science and family life. In addition, he has to hold a position of leadership in his troop and live up to the Scout standards at all times.
He is required to complete a project of significance that he plans, organizes and oversees for a church, school or community organization. Quite a tall order when you consider he has to accomplish all that before he turns 18. And you can't exactly overlook his schoolwork, which comes first!
It'd been more than 20 years since Mary and I attended a Boy Scout Court of Honor ceremony. Scouting is international and millions of boys join that organization, but only a few make it to the top. Marshall Seid is one of the few who did. Moreover, he went one extra step by earning five additional merit badges and a Bronze Palm.
The 90-minute ceremony was moving from start to finish. I was touched by Marshall's mother, Ann, as she sat poised next to her son on stage while the announcer was extolling his many outstanding accomplishments in school and Scouting.
To hear Marshall address the audience and describe in warm terms the countless hours his mother spent helping to achieve his goal was equally telling. For Ann, it wasn't her first experience. Marshall's older brother, Ryan, was on the same stage two years earlier to receive his Eagle award.
Among those others who Marshall claims impacted his young life included his troop leader, his maternal grandparents, Jim and Aggie, and his next-door neighbors, Chuck and Holly, who befriended the family before he was born and who have maintained a special interest in him -- kind of like his second parents.
A few of Marshall's impressive list of school accomplishments have included serving as Shadow Host and Big Brother to new students, maintaining an active role in the Agape Service Club and competing on the school's JV and varsity cross country teams. A better-than-average athlete, he was acclaimed Most Inspirational Runner for two of the four years he competed.
As a scholar, Marshall received special acknowledgment for his academic effort from the principal and faculty of his school, and has been recognized by the president of UC as an outstanding student in the top 9 percent of his class. Marshall belongs to the National Honor Society.
Marshall's Eagle project involved designing and installing a tree cookie floor for an outdoor wooden teepee at a preschool in his hometown. The floor inside the teepee and the outdoor patio allows preschool children to use the wooden play structure year-round without getting muddy during the inclement weather.
Marshall has also held the position of head of review for a website in Silicon Valley focused on Mac-related products for three years, and he volunteers as a counselor and photographer for a nonprofit organization that assists children and adults with disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, traumatic brain injury and other cognitive and physical disabilities.
There's more. This past year, Marshall took part in two school volunteer projects that involved spending a weekend living in a homeless commune and participating in a 10-day cultural exchange program in Ecuador.
Marshall has received offers from a number of prestigious universities and colleges, and has narrowed his choices to UC San Diego, where his brother is a student, or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he plans to major in biomedical engineering. His ultimate goal is to earn an MBA.
We hear all too often about kids today who get into trouble and inevitably end up as wards of the state Department of Corrections. One thing is for certain. This is one young man who'll never be found in that select group!
Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.