Two members of Boy Scout Troop 716 in Westchester recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest award in scouting.

Aaron Singleton and Julio Daniel “Danny” Buendia each completed the Board of Review for the Eagle rank Aug. 11.

Singleton’s Eagle service project involved designing and implementing a plan to prepare and paint the interior main entry hall, stage and side hall of the Westchester Townhouse, a multi-use community mainstay since 1945. He assembled a team of 20 volunteers, amassing 385 labor hours to complete the project.

Singleton said he hopes to encourage other young African-Americans to enter scouting, to pursue high achievement, and to attain the Eagle rank. Troop leaders note that a small percentage of scouts reach the Eagle rank – roughly 5 percent in 2010 – but an even smaller number are scouts of color.

Buendia’s Eagle project consisted of upgrading and repairing part of the tennis courts at Westchester Park. He raised funds for his project by personally requesting donations from local hardware stores and working at The Tennis Key Pro Shop. The project entailed painting a 12-foot-high chain link court fence, including posts and curbing, sanding and repainting eight benches, building two new trashcan enclosures and repairing six existing ones. A combined 312 man hours were spent to complete his project.

Singleton is attending Columbia Community College in Sonora and majoring in photography. He enjoys writing screenplays, writing and performing music, and developing characters for animation. He is the first in his family to reach the Eagle rank in scouting, and hopes his brother will follow in his footsteps.

A senior at Loyola High School, Buendia’s dedication to volunteerism has included tutoring in Loyola’s high school placement test program, and working on Skid Row. As a junior, he earned the Cum Laude Society Award for scholastic achievement, as well as the Swarthmore College Book Award, which recognizes academic passion, outstanding leadership and community involvement.

Among his interests are tennis and playing guitar. With his sights set on college, he plans to study aerospace engineering.

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