“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
These words are the Scout Oath, and with the Scout Law, they must be lived out by an Eagle Scout. Eagle Scouts go through a years-long journey, completing tasks, building skills, and demonstrating leadership. Recently, a group of The Franciscan School graduates (2018) completed their Boy Scout journey together by receiving their Eagle Scout awards. Although they now attend different high schools, they remained together as they achieved this prestigious award.
With the Eagle Scouts graduating high school this spring, a few of them shared some of their journey, what has meant the most to them, and their dreams for the future. Taylor Potts, Tristan Hawkins, Graham Casey, Patrick Finkbiner, Conor Buchanan, and Christian Eckstein share how TFS helped lay a strong foundation and an unbreakable bond that helped these young men achieve such an honorable award.
What was your final Eagle Scout project and why?
“My Eagle Scout project was the construction of stairs, a path, and a trellis for The Franciscan School. My project was finished in September of 2019 and it should still be located next to the offices today.” - Tristan Hawkins
“My Eagle Scout project consisted of me leading the construction of four benches for Leesville Road High School's athletic fields. I knew from playing lacrosse at Leesville that there were not many places to rest if you were tired, or many places to set down sports equipment such as water jugs. Because of this, I decided that by building benches that could be moved around, they would ultimately provide a place for tired athletes, a place to set sports equipment, or somewhere the coach could talk with their team.” - Taylor Potts
“My final Eagle Scout project was to create jazz music stands for Cardinal Gibbons. I did this because I wanted the jazz club to become more of an ensemble instead of a club, and to give it a better and more fun/professional image. The jazz stands show the CGHS Jazz logo and they are used in every concert.” - Graham Casey
“For my Eagle Scout project, I oversaw the construction of a grape arbor at Hilburn Academy that would be used for 1st grade science education. I chose this project because I've always loved science and wanted to create something that younger students could learn from and hopefully become more interested in the subject.” - Patrick Finkbiner
What did attending TFS mean to you?
“Although The Franciscan School means many things to me, I believe some of the most important attributes from attending TFS are the understanding and knowledge about Christianity, being a part of the unparalleled community of teachers, students, and staff, and enjoyment of the many unforgettable experiences and activities with the friends I made while at TFS.” - Taylor Potts
“To me, The Franciscan School was a place where you were always supported. I knew that if I was having a problem or things were getting tough, I had friends, teachers, and administrators who would look out for me. When things would be difficult for me, I had people by my side to get me through it.” - Tristan Hawkins
“Looking back on my time at TFS, I appreciate how supported I was by everyone around me. My teachers, friends, other classmates, and even administrators seemed to be always looking out for me, which hasn't always been the case in high school. Also, TFS placed so much emphasis on giving back to the community which has inspired me to always reach out to others who need help.” - Patrick Finkbiner
“TFS offered me an environment that welcomed curiosity and encouraged me to pursue my passions. The faculty and my peers always supported me in my pursuits; my social studies teachers deserve an award for putting up with my constant commentary during our class lectures. My Catholic education enabled a deep insight into the problems facing our world and the role our community can play in solving them.” - Conor Buchanan
“Attending the Franciscan School gave me a place to make new friends and receive a great education. I was able to practice Catholicism here and study my faith to great depths. TFS also gave me a great place to explore what sports I wanted to do. I started cross country at TFS and have continued it all the way through my senior year of high school. There were numerous school activities like Catholic schools week, field day, and school dances that created memories I will never forget.” - Graham Casey
Did any teachers at TFS stand out as influential or as mentors?
“One teacher at TFS that stood out to me as a mentor is Mrs. Moser. She's considered a mentor in my eyes because she really cared for her students and showed it in many ways, whether it was from early morning study sessions or just talking to us in class. Also, she really prepared me for high school and soon college.” - Christian Eckstein
“Without a doubt, Mrs. Moser is one of the most influential science teachers I have ever had and I am incredibly grateful to have been one of her students in both 8th grade science and the STEM elective. Her classes were definitely a challenge, but she was always willing to help as long as I reached out to her. This helped me to get used to asking for help and advocating for myself which has served me very well in high school.” - Patrick Finkbiner
“I believe most of my teachers have since moved on in their careers, however Mr. Braga, Mr. Arnold, and Mrs. Bennet were all serious mentors to me and each played a major role in developing me as a student of the world's affairs.” - Conor Buchanan
“I had Mrs. Thieken in both my 6th and 8th grade years, and she was especially influential in the latter year. Math 2 gave me a lot of trouble in 8th grade, but Mrs. Thieken did a great job of relieving some of the stress I was putting on myself. Her class prepared me well for more rigorous math courses in high school.” - Tristan Hawkins
“My teacher Mr. Braga was one of my most influential teachers. He was very nice but when it came to class, he was the right amount of serious. His class was very fun. I loved doing debates and writing stories. Mrs. Finch was also one of my most influential teachers. She taught me a lot of what I know about Catholicism now and will always be an inspiration for my faith as my theology teacher for 5 years.” - Graham Casey
What were some of your favorite memories at TFS?
“One of my favorite memories from TFS was going on the field trip to Washington DC. I remember visiting many museums and historic monuments. My favorite museum was the National Air and Space Museum. Probably the best parts of the trip was being able to room with your friends and having the freedom to walk around DC.” - Taylor Potts
“The trip to D.C. was one of my favorite memories from TFS, it was a lot of fun being able to see so many cool places surrounded by my best friends.” - Tristan Hawkins
“The 8th Grade trips to both Camp Hanes and D.C. were amazing. Also, being a part of the Tennis club/team from 5th grade through 8th grade was an absolute blast.” - Patrick Finkbiner
Where did you go to high school after The Franciscan School, and what are your plans after high school?
“I'm currently a senior at Leesville Road High School. After high school, I plan to take the knowledge I gained about first aid from my time in Boy Scouts and become a nurse.” - Christian Eckstein
“I'm currently a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School, and after graduating I plan on attending NC State to major in Environmental Engineering.” - Tristan Hawkins
“I am currently attending Leesville Road High School. After high school, I plan on heading off to college. My top two schools are NC State University and Appalachian State University. I am still undecided when it comes to majors, but I am interested in the engineering department and in computer science.” - Taylor Potts
“I am currently a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School, and as of now I plan to attend college and earn an engineering degree. I'm not sure which type of engineering is right for me at the moment, but I'll hopefully make up my mind sometime during my first year in college. I am also unsure of which college I would like to attend, but some of my favorites are Georgia Tech and Purdue University. With whatever degree I earn, I hope to be a part of the global effort to stop climate change by working somewhere in the renewable energy industry.” - Patrick Finkbiner
“As a senior at Cardinal Gibbons, I am hoping to continue my education abroad at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. I plan to study philosophy, economics, and political science, drawing on my Catholic education to develop and practice an informed understanding of our global community.” - Conor Buchanan
“I attend Cardinal Gibbons High School. My plan after high school is to go to college; I hope to get into NC State or UNC-Chapel Hill. I want to study business and computer science or information technology.” - Graham Casey
Do you have any nuggets of wisdom you’d like to share with students at TFS now.
“Keep trying hard in all your classes. You will be thanking yourself once you get to high school as you will see how well TFS has prepared you.” - Tristan Hawkins
“This goes out to the current middle school students. Do as best as you can in your classes, but leave room to hang out with your friends and family as well. Creating such a balance in your life is something I have only recently seen the benefits of, so learning it earlier is better.” - Patrick Finkbiner
“It's great to get ahead in math during your middle school years. Placing into a higher math will put you ahead in highschool and leave you with more learning opportunities. Use your time at TFS to explore sports. I played lacrosse and ran cross country at TFS, and since starting in 7th grade, I am still running cross country and track during my senior year.” - Graham Casey