On my honor

June 25, 2002|By STEFANIE GREENBERG, Staff Writer

Some high school students spend their time shopping and talking on the phone after school. Others join a sports team or religious youth group.

A small group of students across the nation, however, choose to participate in an activity not always in the forefront of attention: scouting.

Belonging to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts isn't just for young boys who travel on their first camping trip or young girls selling cookies door-to-door. High school students who retain their membership in scouting move from the initial lure of earning merit badges to a heightened responsibility of performing community service.

It is those students who continue with their years of scouting who graduate on to the highest ranks of honor, for the Boy Scouts — the rank of Eagle Scout — and for the Girl Scouts — the Gold Award.


‘I just joined a group that presidents and astronauts are a part of," said Ceasar Garcia.

Comparing himself to Gerald R. Ford and James A. Lovell Jr., Ceasar was honored into the elite class of Eagle Scouts on June 15.

The 16-year-old junior at Central Union High School in El Centro has participated in scouting since the second grade. All of his preparations and planning for his Eagle Scout project culminated Jan. 17 when his project of building six benches for the El Centro Elementary School District playgrounds came to fruition. Now the benches are in a park behind Sunflower Elementary School in El Centro.

Holding various positions in his troop, Ceasar attained the Boy Scout ranks of tenderfoot, second class, first class, star and life. He is a member of the Order of the Arrow, a national brotherhood of scout campers, in which he has received the vigil honor.

Ceasar has earned many awards including the Arrow of Light award. Through scouting, he completed the requirements to receive the Parvuli Dei, Ad Altare Dei and Pope Pius XII religious medals. In the winter of 1995, he took part in the "Sea to Shining Sea Walk" with Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine.

Honored with more awards while holding the position of chief for the Imperial Valley, he also attended the National Scout Jamboree from July 23 to Aug. 1, 2001, at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia.

Ceasar maintains a 3.72 grade-point average and plays the trumpet for the Great Spartan Band. While participating with the high school varsity swim team he won first place at the Imperial Valley League championships.

His parents are Lulu and Sergio Garcia, both of El Centro.

He said the Eagle Scout project is to serve and help the community and "like all Eagle Scout projects, they're all well worth it."

>> Joining Ceasar this year in attaining Eagle Scout rank were Taylor Raymond Burt, Ceasar Cartas Garcia and Sean Vincent Mercer, all of El Centro.

Breezy Boniface, 17, of El Centro, achieved an honor no one else has in the Imperial Valley this year.

Out of girls age 14-17 in all of San Diego and Imperial counties, 34 girls earned their Gold Award and Breezy alone represented the Valley.

"I know I couldn't have done it without the support of the community," Breezy said.

Addressing the poverty in Mexico and the people of the greater Mexicali and Tecate regions, Breezy undertook a drive of goods to benefit the El Oasis Del Niño Catholic orphanage in Mexicali, the economically disadvantaged in La Rumorosa and to Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, the social service arm of Mexico's government. The project consisted of a drive in the Imperial Valley that collected items of clothing, toiletry articles, toys, sports equipment, shoes, educational supplies, baby furniture, blankets, miscellaneous items and 50 cases of toilet paper, a report prepared by Breezy states.

"I designed flyers and distributed them in the Imperial Valley and made presentations to various service organization clubs in El Centro, Calexico, Imperial and to my church, Our Lady of Guadalupe (in El Centro)," she writes in the report.

Breezy has participated in Girl Scouts since first grade. She earned her Silver Award by completing a service project of a portable library with a full volume of books donated to the local Literacy Volunteers of America.

Breezy received the Pope Pius XII religious medal through the Girl Scouts, administered by San Diego Catholic Diocese's Rev. Joe Carroll, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

She was a two-year letterman in girl's tennis and a four-year letterman in swimming at Southwest High School in El Centro. She captained the school's swim team this spring and received its Pepsi most valuable player and leadership awards.

An accomplished musician and four-year letterman in orchestra, Breezy is Southwest High's string orchestra club president and its principal cellist three years running. She was chosen by her instructor, Carolyn Sechrist, as this year's National School Orchestra Award winner.

Spain's embassy to the United States, through the California Department of Education, has awarded a tuition, room and board scholarship to Breezy for her statewide first place in a Spanish writing competition. She will fly to Madrid during July for two weeks of intensive study.

Breezy is a Bank of America $500 scholarship semifinalist in fine arts and recipient of a $1,000 Mervyn's Local Hero Scholarship and a $500 scholarship from the El Centro Education Foundation.

A top 10 graduate of the Southwest High class of 2002, Breezy was awarded the renewable and merit-based $6,000 dean's scholarship and $12,000 USD scholarships by the University of San Diego and will matriculate there in September. She plans to earn her master's degree in business administration.

Her parents are Elia and David Boniface of El Centro.

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