Raj Patel ’23 earned Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America. Only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process.
In order to achieve this achievement, while Patel was a Life Scout, he planned and developed a service project helpful to his community. Since Patel was a young boy, he played baseball most weekends, and he wanted to work on a project to benefit the baseball community.
“I was working with one of the baseball leaders and I decided to build an outdoor kitchen,” Patel said. “There’s a snack shack, but most of the games are long and I thought that more people would come to the games if we built a kitchen. We built a concrete path which took three weeks, a stove, and an outdoor covering. It’s a permanent structure, and it’s been going on for two years. It’s been very successful and they’re been able to enlarge the baseball community. It’s really cool to see it grow and see how it impacts others.”
Patel is involved in aiding his brother to achieve his own Eagle Scout rank, participating in building outdoor classrooms in his town's elementary school. “When people come together and really unite, you can create something new,” Patel said. “That’s what I really like about Boy Scouts. You are able to help not only your own project but other people’s projects, too, and you can make an impact on the community.”
Service is part of Patel’s DNA. He’s also involved in volunteering for the Red Cross, finding inspiration in Upper School science teacher Fritz Goodman’s service in the Red Cross, and his willingness to give blood. Through contact with his father’s friend who volunteers at the Red Cross, Patel organizes blood drives and finds volunteers who are willing to give blood.
Patel actively gives back to the KO community serving as a peer tutor in the Leadership Center.
He feels that at times some students might find it easier to approach a fellow student to understand a math concept they are struggling with. "I see how tutoring assistance impacts others, but It’s also helpful for me because it reinforces the math. I learn from them as much as they learn from me,” he said.
As a member of the Leadership Council, Patel is honing his leadership skills. Rather than view leadership as a naturally-given talent, Patel sees it as a quality that can be developed. “A leader needs to take into account other people’s values and opinions other than your own. As a leader, you’re dedicating your time and energy to helping others. They are putting their trust in you for what you believe in. You must make sure that you are choosing and actively dedicating yourself to them. Great leaders make sure they are doing it for others, not themselves.”