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An aerie of Eagle Scouts honored

At a Court of Honor held at La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Saturday, six new Eagle Scouts were honored.

Normally, said former Troop 4 scoutmaster Dan Mazzella, only two or three boys are awarded the Eagle rank at one ceremony, but this group - Jace Bertges, Jake Luther, Paul Mazzella, Gene Merewether, Tyler Woods, and Kyle Usselman - had a special cohesiveness.

Though the boys each finished their work toward Eagle over a span of time, they held off the ceremony until they could all be awarded together.

“There was a team spirit, which I have to believe was fostered through going on trips together,” Mazzella said.

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The boys backpacked in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, canoed down the Kern River, camped through hailstorms in Yosemite and flashfloods in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. Together, they learned to do many things, such as cross a river using ropes and to face rattlesnakes and bears.

These experiences taught them to rely on one another, as well as to be confident in themselves.

“When they have kept their heads about them as a bear crossed their path, then they return to civilization and when things come up here they think, ‘Well, I did that out there, I certainly can handle this here,’ ” Mazzella said.

The culmination of attaining the Eagle rank is the Eagle Service Project. For this, the boys did everything from building and installing trail information kiosks in Mission Trails Regional Park to renovating an unused area at La Jolla High School by putting in some cafe tables and planting redwood trees.

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At the Court of Honor ceremony, parents gushed with pride in their sons’ accomplishments. Out of every 100 Boy Scouts, fewer than four get to Eagle, Mazzella said. As Eagles, the boys join the company of people like former President Gerald Ford and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

“I think you can’t argue with success,” Mazzella said. “Attaining Eagle is a big indication of what we expect from these guys.”

The boys also got a chance at the ceremony to explain what the process of attaining Eagle has meant to them.

“It’s made me into a more mature and prepared person,” Woods said. “It’s truly an awesome goal to have achieved.”