SUMMIT, NJ - Sebastian Heredia and Michael Malnati, both Hilltop City residents and Summit High School students, have each achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boys Scouts and a distinction earned by just three percent of all Scouts nationwide.
Both Heredia, a senior, and Malnati, a junior, earned the rank with the support of the leaders of Summit's Troop 67, which is chartered by St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church. Troop 67 has been active at the Church since 1933.
During th five-year process of satisfying the requirements for the Eagle rank, Heredia and Malnati participated in many treks, performed many hours of community service, and provided leadership for their troop. They learned many outdoor skills and earned 21 emerit badges.
Heredia also earned the Silver Palm Award for earning 15 merit badges beyond those required to reach the rank of Eagle. Heredia and Malnati are also both Brotherhood members of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s National Honor Society. Heredia is also very active in the Sea Scout program of Boy Scouts of America that operates a 65-foot ship out of Linden.
Both Scouts participated in the National Catholic Committee on Scouting and were awarded the Ad Altare Dei Emblem in 2018 and were the presented with the emblem at a ceremony held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. This Ad Altare Dei is an Emblem that may be earned by Boy Scouts of the Catholic faith, and its purpose "is to foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person by encouraging him to actively live out his Catholic Christian faith.”
Both Scouts subsequently earned the Pope Pius XII Catholic Emblem and were recognized for this achievement in Newark in 2019.
Both Scouts completed Eagle projects to serve the Dominican Nuns at Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, NJ. Heredia’s Eagle project was to build gravel walkways and to improve a Marian prayer rose garden. Malnati’s Eagle project consisted of building five raised garden beds for the sisters to use for plantings.
Heredia was formally presented the Eagle Scout award at a Court of Honor ceremony celebrated at the Dominican Monastery on May 25. Malnati will be presented the Eagle Scout award at a Court of Honor ceremony on December 15 at St. Teresa of Avila Church.
Both Eagle Scouts say they are very grateful to their troop leaders, and also to the Dominican sisters for supporting them in their Eagle Scout Projects. Heredia and Malnati are the first Boy Scouts from Summit to serve the sisters within their monastery. The Dominican Nuns of Summit are a contemplative order where the sisters live in cloister and practice a life of prayer. Heredia and Malnati both feel very blessed that the sisters invited them to work in their garden inside the intimate papal enclosure, an experience that was collectively seen as a gift by the Scouts, their families, and the Troop 67 community.