SHORT HILLS, NJ - Of the countless children who join the Cub Scouts at an early age, only a certain number will become Boy Scouts, with even fewer scouts who progress the leadership ladder. And a select few will gain the greatest honor in scouting, becoming an Eagle Scout.
Saturday afternoon at Christ Church in Short Hills, members of the community gathered to honor the eight scouts of Troop 15 who accomplished that feat.
Eagle Scouts Casey Dutch, Devon Harrison, Timothy Hong, Ryan Lam and Rushath Ravindranath were all present at the ceremony. Three other Eagle Scouts from Troop 15, Hayden Shaw, Arthur Wayne and Andy Xia could not be there in person but were also honored.
Speaker after speaker praised the boys for their work in attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. Additionally, all five scouts present at the court of honor gave speeches reflecting back on their fondest memories from the program.
For their efforts, the boys were given gifts, including binders summarizing their Eagle Scout projects, Eagle Scout Medals and flags in display cases bearing their name that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
For Troop 15 Scoutmaster Dr. Albert Ahn, the court of honor was something he was excited for. Ahn has been Troop 15's leaders for 10 years. During that time, he has helped graduate 50 Eagle Scouts, including Saturday's group. As Ahn said, the work of the boys to attain Eagle Scout rank is a testament to their perseverance.
"This is a shining example of what happens when you have fine young men who dedicate themselves to reaching the pinnacle in scouting," Ahn said. "And who also have the support of their parents, their community and their troop.
"And I couldn't be prouder of these fine young men. They are going to go and make their mark on the world for sure. The world will be a much better place with them, because of what they've achieved."
The court of honor was also a chance to celebrate the scouting career of a woman who left her indelible mark on years of scouts in the township.
Carol Pinkus, who has been the Cub Scout Pack 1 leader since 2009 and an assistant scoutmaster in Troop 15 since 2012, will be leaving her role, but not before getting one final group of Cub Scouts up to Boy Scout in February.
Pinkus was honored at the court as well, and spoke with TAPinto. She said that she was happy to watch as the boys she knew now sat in front of her as distinguished young men, and more importantly, Eagle Scouts.
"I was a leader for my own son's Cub Scout pack and Boy Scout troop," Pinkus said. "So I saw the difference it made for them. And to be able to do the same, I remember those five boys when they were [in] second or third grade. And to see them now, and what they've accomplished is joyful. I'm very proud."
Following the ceremony, an informal reception was held in the church, as a slideshow of the boys' scouting adventures played.