Giving Back

Boy Scout Eagle Project Creates Outdoor Classroom at Woodmont

Parents Doreen and Patrick Phalen, Scout Conner Phalen, and Woodmont Principal Dominic Esposito ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Principal Dominic Esposito hands Life Scout Conner Phalen a certificate ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Teacher Gregg Milite uses the outdoor classroom with his 1st grade class ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Woodmont Principal Dominic Esposito speaks at the dedication ceremony ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Principal Dominic Esposito tries out the new blackboard ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Teacher Gregg Milite and Principal Dominic Esposito joke around ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Teacher Gregg Milite uses the outdoor classroom with his 1st grade class ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Woodmont kids lined up for the dedication ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Woodmont Elementary kids clap for Conner Phalen ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
Dedication plaque ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno

MONTVILLE, NJ – Boy Scout Conner Phalen’s Eagle Scout project was dedicated May 23 at Woodmont Elementary School, his “alma mater.” His project, the creation of an outdoor classroom, was completed in October of 2016 after two months of planning.

An outdoor classroom is an outdoor area where teachers can bring students to teach lessons. The Woodmont outdoor classroom had three tables with bench seating, and the scouts built a podium, a demonstration table, and a chalkboard.

“Since I was a student at Woodmont, several parts of the school have been renovated but the area I chose to work in had not changed,” Phalen told TAPinto Montville. “I chose an outdoor classroom because the idea has been discussed since I was a student, but it had never materialized into a project. So I decided to take on the challenge of building at outdoor classroom as my Eagle Scout project.”

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About 40 people worked on the project on a Saturday in October; Phalen estimates it took about eight hours that day.

 “I had my family, the scouts in the troop, and my friends work on the project with me,” he said.

Principal Dominic Esposito conducted a dedication ceremony and brought all the students from the school outside to show them the outdoor classroom, introduce Phalen to them, point out all the work it took, and explain what the outdoor classroom was for.

 “Conner planned, organized, and fundraised to purchase all the supplies,” Esposito told the students. “He did this all on his own, and then he came on a Saturday with the members of his Boy Scout troop and they spent the entire day renovating this classroom.

“This is a pretty big deal,” he continued. “We’re very excited because now we have this beautiful space that our students and teachers can use to go outside and enjoy some great lessons. We hope that you’re going to have a lot of great use.”

At the dedication ceremony, Phalen thanked teacher Brian Quinn and Esposito for giving him the opportunity to “give back to Woodmont.” Phalen “graduated” from Woodmont in 2012, but recently completed the 10th grade at Montville Township High School.

Esposito presented Phalen with a certificate of gratitude.

To complete the Eagle process, Phalen has to present his project to a Board of Review, which is the committee that reviews his requirements and awards him the rank of Eagle.

“This renovated outdoor classroom will encourage Woodmont students to explore their natural surroundings and engage their love of nature,” Esposito said.

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