The two gardens along the front walkway at William S. James Elementary…
Matthew Aaron Thomas, son of David Thomas and Janet Viol-Thomas, of Abingdon, earned the rank of Eagle Scout Oct. 26. His Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project at William S. James Elementary School was completed in May.
His project consisted of making significant improvements to the two gardens along the front walkway and a side wall garden area at the school. A total of 235 feet of stained, double-stacked landscaping timbers and 180 feet of landscaping edging were installed along with four new azalea bushes. Two posts were installed, one with a birdhouse and the other with three bird feeders. All three garden areas were weeded and mulched. The front walkway leading to the school's front door was power washed and 80 new jaguar paw prints were painted on the sidewalk.
A total of 462 hours were required to complete the project. Matthew spent 161 hours planning and carrying out the project. He led 40 volunteers who gave 301 hours to help him with his fundraisers and perform the physical work of the project at the school. Fellow scouts, scout leaders and adults from his troop, as well as neighborhood friends and family members, volunteered to complete the project. Ray Schmalzer, former Principal of William S. James Elementary, and the staff at Harford County Public Schools were very supportive and helpful with his project.
The project cost more than $1,500. Money for the project was obtained by two fundraisers, a music concert and a car wash, as well as cash donations from people who wished to support the project, and donations of some of the materials and supplies. Both Home Depot and Lowes were very generous with donations toward the project, according to the Eagle Scout.
Matthew began his scouting career as a Tiger Scout in Cub Scout Pack 810 in September 2001. He earned the Light of Christ Award in 2003, the Parvuli Dei Award in 2005, and the Arrow of Light Award in 2006.
He then joined Boy Scout Troop 810, chartered with St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Abingdon. He served in the leadership roles of Historian, Guide, and Patrol Leader. In 2008 he received the World Conservation Award, the Troop's Scout of the Year Award and the Community Service Award. Also in 2008, after completing his Ordeal, he was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's National Honor Society, and then earned Brotherhood membership in OA in 12010. In 2011 he received both the Gold and Silver for the Troop's Distinguished Service Award.
During his Boy Scout career he earned 36 merit badges, camped more than 100 nights, did countless hours of community service, and volunteered with the week-long Harford County Cub Scout Day Camp for the past five years. Matthew is 16 years old and a junior at Edgewood High School. He plans to attend college after graduation in 2013.