When 15-year-old Bryce Tsuruma was deciding on a project to complete his Eagle Scout badge, the Saint Louis sophomore wanted to see if he could relate it to his school and past students.
He discovered that the Class of 1953 - exactly 60 years apart from when Tsuruma will graduate in 2013 - had volunteered its services to construct a pavilion on the middle school campus.
While the pavilion was still in good shape, the surrounding area was, in Tsuruma’s words, “unsightly.”
He approached representatives of the Class of ‘53 last October to discuss his plans to beautify the area, and on July 10 Tsuruma led more than 65 Boy Scouts of Troop 49, their parents and other volunteers in a six-hour cleanup effort. Among their duties were removing overgrown trees, bushes and weeds near the pavilion; installing solar lights and ti plants on the hill overlooked by the pavilion; trimming an overgrown mock orange bush; and clearing the area below the band room to make it more presentable.
In all, more than 50 40-gallon trash bags were hauled out of the school along with a long-bed rollover container overflowing with large branches, leaves and other opala.
“I felt tired, but relieved that many volunteers helped me to complete my Eagle Scout project,” says Tsuruma, who gave a special shout out to Saint Louis alumni, his Saint Louis classmates from Boy Scouts Troop 32 in Waipahu, and his parents Linda and Tad for their participation in the cleanup.
“(Since school started) I check the condition of the ti leaf plants and water them when I can,” he adds. “I had compliments from visitors and campus employees on how well the area looks now.”
Tsuruma entered the Honpa Hongwanji Pack 49 Cub Scouts at age 5 before moving up to Troop 49 Boy Scouts. The Pearl City resident continues to volunteer with his former Cub Scout pack as a Den Chief because “I help prepare them for Boy Scouts,” which he enjoys because “I learn about different things ... and enjoy the company of my fellow Scouts.”
In addition to volunteering with Hawaii Special Olympics, the Pearl City Community Association’s annual Family Fun Day, and passing out water at the Honolulu Marathon, Tsuruma stays active as a member of the Saint Louis cross country, wrestling and judo teams, as well as the Saint Louis Japanese Club and JROTC.
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