By Jacob Mathias
The main entrance to Pacelli Catholic High School is getting a full face-lift thanks to a service project by a hopeful future Eagle Scout.
Philip DiSalvo, 17, is a Life Scout with the the Boy Scouts of America Troop 298. In order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout- the highest designation a scout can achieve- DiSalvo has to organize and complete a substantial community service project. He chose his school’s main entrance.
“I knew I wanted to have a project at my own school because I wanted to make a mark on the school,” said DiSalvo. “I’ve heard from many teachers and other people that it’s looked so bad for 25 years and they’re so happy that someone’s finally doing something about it.”
The project is a full scale revamp of the main entrance. Much of the front lawn was excavated to bare dirt, which was then leveled with sand. Stones were brought in to construct planters and currently paving stones are being laid out. Benches will later be installed for seating in the spring, along with plants and a religious statue.
The project must be completed by next September, as all Eagle Scout requirements need to be completed prior to the scout’s 18th birthday.
“It’s a very ambitious project and I think so far he’s done a great job,” said Phil DiSalvo, Philip’s father. “There were times when we were like, how’s he ever going to do this? But he’s been marching along.”
Philip DiSalvo began his career in scouting 10 years ago as a Wolf Cub Scout. He progressed through
the Cub Scout ranks of Wolf, Bear and Webelos before crossing over into the Boy Scouts where he camped, volunteered and earned merit badges through the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life Scout ranks. He is also a brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, a service-oriented scouting honor society.
“I think it’s fabulous that he’s stuck with it this long and that he’s been persistent enough to follow it through all the way to Eagle [Scout],” said Lynn DiSalvo, Philip’s mother. “I’m pretty proud of him.”
His favorite memory of scouting is the first time he tried zip-lining at Tesomas Scout Camp in northern Wisconsin. But he said the one thing that’s kept him in Scouting for so long is the friends he’s made along the way.
“You got high school and you have all these broken groups…in scouts we bring those groups together and it’s really neat to see all those groups becoming one,” said Kevin Konopacky, Troop 298 Scoutmaster .
Konopacky was the 15th Eagle Scout in Troop 298 and he said DiSalvo should be number 88 or 89, depending on when the project is complete.
Scouting runs in the family for Philip DiSalvo. His grandfather was a scoutmaster for many years with Troop 297, and also has an uncle who is an Eagle Scout.
“It’s a great program. I think more and more people should get involved,” said Philip DiSalvo.
The project is not without cost. Philip Disalvo and his troop have already had one spaghetti fundraiser to help raise the $8,000 to $12,000 for the project. He said more fundraisers are on the way.