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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
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May 30, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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May 30, 2018
 

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Page 2A May 30, 2018 porter By Diane Glidewell news @rnymcr.net Mary Persons Class of 2018 has many claims to bragging rights. One of them is that five members of the class are Eagle Scouts: Ian Bettis, Jordan Carr, Michael Skinner, Seth Smith and Hunter Walker. They are all members of Monroe County's Troop 51. Scoutmaster Jimmy Melton said that all five young men came to Troop 51 in the same crossover group from Webelos, formed the Hawk Patrol and have worked together as scouts through their middle and high school years. There have also been other members in the Hawk Patrol, too. Melton, who has been the Scoutmaster of Troop 51 since August 2015, said that the Class of 2018 has been one of the most successful groups in a troop that is very successful in pro- ducing high achieving young men. He noted that national statistics show that only about 5 percent of boys in Boy Scouts nationally achieve the designation of Eagle Scout, which means about one-half of a per- cent of the general popu- lation. The rate in Troop 51 is phenomenally higher. Melton said that the Mary Persons Class of 2018 Eagle Scouts are all very different indi- viduals. They had dif- ferent interests in merit badges and pursued different types of Eagle Scout projects. Offering various strengths and challenges to the troop, "they mixed like oil and water at times," said Left to right, Eagle Scouts Jordan Cart, Michael Skinner, Seth Smith, lan Bettis are ready to graduate together. Hunter Walker and Melton. Some of them they were students at their excursions included took more encourage- Hubbard Elementary 60 miles of canoeing ment and pushing to School. Their camarade- in the Northern Tier finish their Eagle Scout rie was evident as they in Minnesota, 10-days requirements than did got together at Mary . of back-packing across others. A scout only has Persons Baccalaureate New Mexico and sail- until his 18th birthday to Service for a picture ing from the Sea Base in fulfill all the Eagle Scout with their caps, gownsthe Florida Keys. They requirements and submit and regalia, includingteased one another about his application, alth.ough their red, white and the cooking skills they the review board may blue Eagle Scout cords, practiced as Scouts. approve it after his birth- (School administrationDavid Fite was the day. woqld not let thein wear Troop 51 scoutmaster Melton commended the Eagle Scout cords at when the Class of 2018 the family members who graduation.) entered the troop. Phil helped both their own Asked about their Bettis later served as boys and others in the favorite memories their scoutmaster before troop succeed in reach- from scouting, white Melton accepted the role. ing the elite status of water rafting and their Currently the age of the Eagle Scout. High Adventure trips troop is younger as the Ian, Jordan, Michael topped the list. Not all 18-year-old scouts have Seth and Hunter all of them went on the aged out over the last started scouting while same adventures, but few months. The troop "-t LL ml~ [] Left to right, Hunter Walker, Michael Skinner, Seth Smith, lan Bettis and Jordan Carr pictured in 2Oll, early in their journey together as Boy Scouts. welcomed eight 10-year- olds this year. One of the responsibilities of the older scouts is to teach skills to the younger ones, and the Class of 2018 has had the oppor- tunity to do so this year. Melton said that among other skills, the older guys taught the younger ones knot-tying and have focused on canoeing more recently as the troop prepares for a canoeing experi- ence on the Tennessee River in June. Using the R.L. Williams camp- ground off Montpelier Road where Troop 51 meets, they learned basic canoeing strokes, next week will practice swamping and recovery of their canoes 'and then will learn about packing and securing their gear before the trip. The older scouts have the option of signing up as adult leaders to go on the trips after they age out. "I'm sure I could call on any of them with specific requests," said Melton. Monroe County has benefited from having the Eagle Scouts in its midst, with their Eagle projects being just one example. Ian's Eagle Scout project was build- ing a bridge at Monroe County Recreation Department. Seth built a drop box for Circle of Care on Adams Street to keep donated items out of the weather. Hunter Walker did a clean up of the lake shore line at Camp Kaleo. Michael built a cover over the walkway at Rocky Creek Baptist Church. Jordan built benches and a trail at Camp Kaleo. So what comes after graduation for members of the Hawk Patrol? Ian said he is going into the Air National Guard. Hunter is interested in computer networking and will pursue it at Central Georgia Tech. Seth is headed to Mercer University to major in political science and then get a law degree. Michael will serve in the Army Reserve while attending Georgia State to study physics and civil engi- neering. And Jordan is focused on flight school as he majors in aviation science and management at Middle Georgia State University. . By Will Davis publisher@mymcr.nef When Brenda Lopez received her diploma from Mary Persons High School on Friday night, it wasn't her fam- ily's only special mile- stone of the month. That's because cheer- ing her on in the stands was her grandmother, 70-year-old Elvira Oropeza, who came to the U.S. from Mexico for the occasion, meet- ing her 18-year-old granddaughter for the first time and seeing her daughter, Lopez's mother ]any Ruiz, for the first time since she moved to the U.S. 22 years ago. "They were hugging forever:' Lopez said of the occasion. Join us for the Official SRP Kick-Off on June 5, 20181 Activities will begin at lOAM with Dr, Magkal Balloons Fun Time Balloon Show. At 11AM, children will have the opportunity to participate in a Musical Petting Zoo that will include Instruments GALORE!! We are excited and can't . wait to get to reading with you this summer!! Let's Rock and READ!! Ruiz was born in Mex- . ico but married her hus- band A!fredo Lopez and moved to the U.S. in 1996. Her mother, Oro- peza, stayed at home in Michoacan, Mexico where she has a clothing shop and makes dresses. They had not seen each other since then. But with her grand- daughter graduating from Mary Persons, Oropeza was able to get a visa to come to the U.S. for the occasion, arriving April 28, to meet the three grand- children she had never met, only knowing each other by talking on the phone. Brenda has two brothers, Omar, 13, and Daniel, 10. Lopez said her grand- mother, who doesn't speak much English, did tell her that she's very proud of her for gradu- ating. And she said she enjoys the small-town feel of Forsyth a lot more than California, the only other place she's been in the U.S. as she has more family there. Lopez hopes to give her grandmother an- other reason to visit in a few years as she enrolls at Middle Georgia State University with eyes on a career in psy- chology or medicine. Meanwhile, Lopez said she hopes to visit her grandmother in Mexico either in June or De- cember. MP graduate Sandra Lopez, center, shown on Friday night with her mother, Jany Ruiz, left, and her grand- mother, Elvira Oropeza, right. Lopez met her grand- mother for the first time when she came to Geor- gia for the ceremony, and her mother was see- ing her grand- mother for the first time in 22 years, since she moved to the U.S.