Inside a new facility at Midway High School, senior Stephen Carroll faced a large crowd of supporters and spoke about a two-year journey to earn the highest honor in the Boy Scouts organization — Eagle Scout.
Many said that building a large storage facility for the band program was a huge undertaking, but the dream came true. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Sunday afternoon for the project titled “Project Eagle Song.” It all began with a need to have more space to house items such as props for competitions, trailers and cooking equipment.
“The band needed more space due to the migration of students from the middle school who were incoming freshman,” said Carroll, a tuba player. “I noticed this my sophomore year and I decided to take action.”
The result was construction of a 30-by-30 foot facility made of steel, electricity, insulation and two roll-up doors.
He went through hurdles of convincing the Eagle Scout board that the project was more than just a fundraiser, but an opportunity to connect with a lot of people in the community. Along the way, he received a lot of support from individuals.
“Before we knew it, the dirt was packed and the cement was laid and construction began,” Carroll said to the crowd. “But let me tell you, this was some of the most tedious, vigorous and humorous work I’ve ever had to complete in my life.”
After passing an inspection he was happy and didn’t care when a student caught him dancing in the hall when he celebrated. The Eagle Scout board was astounded with Project Eagle Song, which was completed with the assistance of local residents and contractors.
“See, God brings people and experiences into our lives to make us realize this life was not meant to be lived alone,” he said. “God did this for me over the course of two years and I want to thank him for all the things he’s done in my life so far.”
Principal Monty Strickland said Carroll is a hard-working student and praised him for his dedication toward academics and band. The student’s parents, Carol and Kenny Carroll, were also recognized for their involvement with the school.
“He’s one of the top students in his class and we’re proud that he’s one of ours,” Strickland said. “Persistent is a word that comes to mind when you think about him.”
When Strickland was approached about the project, he envisioned something simply being rolled in and placed on the ground. But that’s not what Carroll had in mind. He wanted to construct a sturdy facility that will be around forever.
“We’re the proud recipients of it,” Strickland said about Stephen taking the lead on the project. “His legacy is going to be at Midway High School for many generations.”
“I know whenever I drive by and look at it, I’m going to see his face. For that, we’re proud and we appreciate that.”
In addition to what Strickland called “blood, sweat, and tears,” many steps were involved. Some of them included finding contractors and fundraising. Band Director Joshua Tew also expressed his gratitude for those efforts and Carroll’s accomplishments, including making All-District during his four years in high school.
“I’m really proud of him,” Tew said. “One of the things that’s cool about having him all of these years is that I met him as a boy and he’s leaving as a man. He’s really grown into a great man that’s going to do great things after he leaves here.”
Tew said a lot generations coming through the band program will benefit from Carroll’s Project Eagle Song.
In addition to remarks from Carroll and other supporters, many sponsors and contributors were recognized and received framed plaques for their assistance.
“They believed in me from day one and respected my determination in accomplishing at one point was a figment of my imagination,” Carroll said. “Many said I would not be able to do it, but their conspiracies would have came true if it wasn’t for the people who stood behind me.”
His parents were also presented with frames for their help along the way to becoming an Eagle Scout. After receiving heartfelt remarks, the large crowd watched as Carroll cut the ribbon. Next attendees enjoyed his dad’s famous barbecue.
“I’m glad that everybody could come and recognize what we’ve all done,” Carroll said.
He hopes that it sets a precedent with other high school students when it comes to making a difference.
“People can do the same for their school,” he said while standing next to his legacy. “They can do something great that the school can benefit from.”