SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Boys Scout Troop 35 welcomed their newest Eagle Scout, Matthew Chludzinski, in a special ceremony on April 25 at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank that a scout can achieve within the Boy Scout organization and it is a milestone that is reached by only a small percentage of Boy Scouts. Since 1912, only five percent of Boy Scouts have been awarded the honor. A lengthy process is involved in attaining the Eagle Scout ranking. Scouts must earn 21 badges including camping, cooking, swimming, hiking or cycling, citizenship in the community, citizenship in the nation, citizenship in the world, communications, lifesaving, environmental science, family life, first aid, personal fitness and personal management. Perspective Eagle Scouts must also complete an Eagle Scout Service Project.

Chludzinski’s service project involved an endeavor in his hometown of Spotswood. The teen worked with and organized 20 volunteers in refurbishing the Lich Gate to the cemetery of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The cemetery is located on Main Street in Spotswood and the entranceway to the historic cemetery had fallen into disrepair over the years. Chludzinski along with his team of volunteers spent many hours replacing the cedar roof, repairing the rotted wood in addition to repainting the historic structure. The team also replaced the roof over the entrance to the church hall. Intricate architectural details were carefully refurbished or replaced as well.

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On April 25, Chludzinski was rewarded for his hard work with the Eagle Scout Award by the Monmouth Council, Boy Scout Association. The teen also received a proclamation from New Jersey State Senator Linda R. Greenstein. Greenstein was in attendance at the ceremony. He also received letters of commendation from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and United States Senator Robert Menendez.

Chludzinski is a junior at Spotswood High School where he plays both soccer and tennis. He is also a member of the Spotswood High School Jazz Band, Pep Band, Honors Wind Ensemble and Festivus Players. The trumpet player recently was a part of the orchestra that provided the musical backdrop for the Appleby Elementary School Drama Club’s spring production of “Annie Jr.” Chludzinski participates in the Heroes and Cool Kids program at SHS. He is a peer mentor, a member on the Humans Relations Committee as well as TEAMS and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Chludzinski is the ninth member of his family to earn scouting highest honor. Two of his uncles as well as his father are Eagle Scouts. All three were in attendance at the April ceremony.

"Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is a culmination of all my hard work and determination through my scouting years,” Chludzinski said. “Serving my community through my Eagle Scout project was a fantastic experience. I'm glad I was able to contribute in a significant way to my community. Achieving this rank was even more special because of all the support and guidance I received from my family members who also achieved this rank. "

Boy Scout Troop 35 welcomes members from Spotswood, Helmetta, East Brunswick and Monroe Township. They are a part of the Middlesex District of the Monmouth Council of the Boy Scout Association. Meetings are held on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Spotswood. For more information on Boy Scout Troop 35, visit their website.