By Janee Law
A Melville teen has worked to install three new benches at a Farmingville church as part of his Eagle Scout project. Eagle Scout is the highest advancement Boy Scouts of America offers. Earning the rank requires dedication, sacrifice and a passion to serve the community. That includes the completion of a community-beneficial project requiring hours of work.
Yanni Agrotis, 18, did just that, and was honored with the accolade at the Huntington Elks Lodge last week.
For his project, Agrotis built and installed three benches at St. Michael the Archangel, volunteering more than 153 hours to complete the project.
Agrotis said that, since the church is growing, he took on this particular project because parishioners wanted a place to sit outside, rather than be crammed in the meeting room.
“Before I started my project, I had to prove that I was a good leader and the project helped me do that by planning it and carrying it out,” he said. “But the way it works is I’m not allowed to actually do any of the work. So my job is to get my troop to help me with the project and I supervise.”
Agrotis said supervising was a test for him, leading both scouts and adults through the project.
“I like to help, and it was weird that I couldn’t do anything physical to help them, but it was definitely challenging and helped me,” Agrotis said. “I think it’s something that the kids should get to learn how to do because a lot of them want to be Eagle Scouts too.”
To raise money for the project, Agrotis hosted three car washes starting in June 2015. The car washes raised more than $1,100 toward constructions, which was completed and installed by November 2015.
“It felt good to help my community and it felt good that it was finally done because the project it was definitely a struggle for the 6-7 months that it took,” Agrotis said.
He added, “Seeing them in the ground was a good feeling.”
For six and a half years, Agrotis has been a member of BSA Troop 10, which is based out of Huntington. He is part of a group of around 4 percent of scouts nationwide who attain the Eagle Scout rank.
“Not a lot of people get it, so it’s special to me,” Agrotis said.
As a member of Troop 106, he has also earned the position of patrol leader, and then senior patrol leader. After that, Agrotis became a junior assistant scoutmaster.
Agrotis, a 2015 St. Anthony’s High School grad, said to become an Eagle he had to fulfill six other ranks, including scout, tenderfoot, second-class, first-class, star and life.
In addition, Eagle Scout candidates must earn 21 merit badges, 12 of which are required, and successfully complete a community service leadership project within the community, a church or synagogue to earn the rank prior to turning 18 years old.
Continuing to give back to the community, Agrotis said he wants to become an assistant scout master for the troop, which he has to take leadership training to be qualified.
Agrotis will be entering his sophomore year at Molloy College this fall. He’s currently enrolled in a five-year bachelor’s/master’s program for history in education. He’s also a sprinter on Molloy’s track and field team, and made the athletic honor roll with a 3.91 GPA his freshman year.
Agrotis said when he graduates he would like to come back to St. Anthony’s High School to be a history teacher and a track and field coach.