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Eagle Scout Recognition Ceremony Commends Two For Achieving the Prestigious Rank of Eagle

PARSIPPANY — Christopher Stearns and Jonah Lance were honored with the rank of Eagle at the Parsippany BSA Troop 173’s ceremony on Sunday, June 11.

The Eagle Scout rank is indeed a prestigious achievement within the Scouting movement. It represents the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) program and carries significant honor and responsibility.

The statistic you mentioned that only 5% of Scouts earn the Eagle rank demonstrates the rigorous requirements needed to achieve this distinction. To become an Eagle Scout, a Scout must demonstrate leadership skills, earn a specified number of merit badges across various areas of interest, complete a significant service project benefiting the community, and embody the principles and values of Scouting.

Once a Scout attains the rank of Eagle, they hold this title for life, regardless of their age or continued involvement in Scouting. This lifelong designation is a testament to the character, dedication, and leadership qualities exhibited by Eagle Scouts.

Eagle Scouts are encouraged to serve as role models and leaders within Scouting and their communities. Many Eagle Scouts go on to excel in various fields and industries, as you mentioned, including the military, higher education, academia, professions, clergy, business, and politics. The values and skills instilled through the Scouting program often contribute to their success in these endeavors.

It’s worth noting that while Eagle Scouts have achieved great accomplishments, not all of them pursue these specific paths. Some may find success and leadership in other areas or industries, but the principles and values they learn as Eagle Scouts continue to influence their lives positively.

Clark LaForteza, Senior Patrol Leader, took on the role of master of ceremonies during the ceremony honoring Christopher Stearns and Jonah Lance with the rank of Eagle in Parsippany BSA Troop 173 on Sunday, June 11.
Shawn Trimmer, the Fishawack District Executive of the Patriots’ Path Council, extends warm congratulations to Chris and Jonah. Recognizing their exceptional achievements as Eagle Scouts, this commendation highlights their dedication, perseverance, and embodiment of the values upheld by the Scouting movement. The Fishawack District Executive celebrates their accomplishments and wishes them continued success in their future endeavors.

The journey to becoming an Eagle Scout can be likened to ascending a challenging trail that leads to three peaks, with the highest being the pinnacle of Eagle Scout. The trail officially begins with the Tenderfoot rank and progresses through the Second and First Class ranks. From there, the arduous climb commences. Along the path, there are markers in the form of merit badges, leadership roles, service projects, and the application of Scouting skills and principles. The first peak reached is that of Star Scout, followed by Life Scout, and ultimately culminated in the esteemed achievement of Eagle Scout.

Committee Chair Bruce Benson welcomed the Scouts and the guests. Open remarks were given by Clark LaForteza, Senior Patrol Leader.

Special Community Presentations were introduced by Senior Patrol Leader Clark LaForetza.

Certification of Eagle Candidates was given by Les Wu, Assistant Scoutmaster. Les was the first Scoutmaster for both Christopher Stearns and Jonah Lance.
Dave Franz was honored to present the “Good Turn Award” to Jonah Lance. This award recognizes Jonah’s exceptional commitment to performing acts of kindness and selflessness within his community. Dave Franz acknowledges and commends Jonah’s dedication to making a positive impact through his good deeds and upholding the principles of Scouting. The “Good Turn Award” is a testament to Jonah’s compassion, generosity, and outstanding contributions to others.

Certification of Eagle Candidates was given by Les Wu, Assistant Scoutmaster.

Christopher Stearns

Chris Stearns

Chris began his Scouting experience in Cub Scout Pack 142. Chris made many memories in Cub Scouts, like winning 1st place at the Pinewood Derby and participating in Troop rocket launches. With the help of his Den leaders and fellow Cub Scouts, he earned his Arrow of Light and crossed over to Troop 173 in 2016. 

Chris’s favorite memories stem from Troop 173’s monthly campouts and his time at Winnebago summer camp. His favorite campouts were the numerous Iron Chef campouts and Turkey–in–a–Can campouts. He also enjoyed late nights playing cards with many of his fellow Troop mates as well as the multitude of Troop football games over the years. Chris received the National Outdoor Award for camping and the Good Turn Daily Award for his continued kindness and eagerness to help others.

For Chris’ Eagle Project, he managed a project which constructed a porous paver pathway at the Glacier Hills pool to deal with the problem of runoff and water erosion. The project was a much-needed improvement for the GHA pool as the area frequently flooded, which made it unusable. The pathway serves as a walkway and access for emergency vehicles to enter the pool area through the gate. Chris could not have done the project alone, and he had a multitude of help from his dad (also an Eagle Scout), Russ Tappen (project sponsor), Michael Catapano (Eagle coach), and other Troop members and leaders.

Christopher Stearns’s “Trail to Eagle”

Chris is currently a Senior at Parsippany Hills High School. He played as a starter for the varsity football and lacrosse teams and was elected Captain his Senior year for his lacrosse team. He earned 1st Team All-Division, 2nd Team All-Conference, and All-Academic team while playing lacrosse. Chris earned the Scholar-Athlete Award from his football team, requiring the highest GPA and academic integrity. Chris also enjoys skiing in winter with Dad and his friends. He is an active student maintaining a 4.1 GPA while participating in the National Honor Society. He is also involved in tutoring students. Chris plans to attend Virginia Tech in the fall and major in Business Information Technologies and Marketing.  

Tom Stearns, Christopher Stearns, Michelle Stearns, and Kaitlyn Stearns

Chris earned 21 merit badges: (*Eagle Required): Leatherwork, Search and Rescue, Geology, Rifle Shooting, Communication*, Digital Technology*, Citizenship In The Community *, Citizenship in The World*, Collections, Personal Fitness*, Citizenship in the Nation*, Family Life*, Lifesaving*, Disabilities Awareness, Fingerprinting, Rifle Shooting, First Aid*, Swimming *, Camping*, Personal Management*, Environmental Science*, and Cooking.

Jonah Lance

Jonah Lance

Jonah began his Scouting career 2011 as a Cub Scout in Pack 218. With his mother as his Den leader, he earned each Cub Scout Rank and the Arrow of Light Award before crossing over to Troop 173 in February 2016. As he settled into the Troop, he enjoyed attending monthly campouts, learning new skills, participating in community service projects, and being around other Scouts who inspired him to be the best Scout he could be. Progressing through Scouting, Jonah was elected for his first position of responsibility, Quartermaster. He worked hard keeping track of the Troop’s equipment and preparing the equipment for campouts. He then became Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, and Scribe.

One life-changing Scouting program Jonah participated in was the National Youth Leadership Training, NYLT. He spent a week at Winnebago Scout Reservation learning how to become a better leader, communicator, and teacher not only in Scouting but also in the classroom and playing sports. After the experience, not only did others recognize his development, but he recognized how much it helped him with his daily life. For example,  he received the Iron Man Award from his lacrosse coach for his dedication, determination, always giving 100%, and always being there for his teammates. He also received the Young Man of the Year Award from his football coach and athletic director for demonstrating a selfless commitment to his community, school, teammates, and peers. 

One of Jonah’s greatest Scouting accomplishments was completing his Eagle Scout Project. Having only two months to complete it and nine merit badges before he aged out made it very stressful. Although he wanted to tap out, Jonah pulled through and worked with the Morris County Parks Commission to replace a bridge in a section along the Patriots Path Trail in Whippany. He raised $1,160 for materials, supplies, and tools and donated the leftover $146 to the Morris County Park Service. Jonah led 28 volunteers who were fellow Scouts, family, and friends. The whole project took a total of 109 hrs.

Jonah is currently a Senior at Parsippany Hills High School. He played Varsity Football and Lacrosse, starting for both teams. Jonah loves being outdoors, whether hunting, fishing, camping, or skiing. Jonah will attend Lycoming College in Fall 2023 and is committed to playing Football at the Division III level.

Jonah’s mom pins the Eagle badge on Jonah.

Jonah earned the following 21 Merit badges (*Eagle Required): Fingerprinting, Citizenship in the Nation*, Citizenship in Society*, Disabilities Awareness, Emergency Preparedness*, Fishing, Swimming*, Personal Fitness*, Shotgun Shooting, Wilderness Survival                 Communication*, Rifle Shooting, First Aid*, Personal Management*, Camping*, Small-Boat Sailing, Citizenship in the Community*, Cooking*, Citizenship in the World*, Family Life* and Environmental Science*.

In recognition of her many hours of guidance in your efforts, Johan Lance places the Eagle Mom pin on his mother.
Jonah Lance places the Eagle Mentor pin on Thomas Stearns.
Jonah places the Eagle Mentor Pin on Keith Porcelli.
In recognition of her many hours of guidance in your efforts, Chris places the Eagle Mom pin on this mother.
In a heartfelt gesture of gratitude for the wisdom and guidance provided by your father, Thomas, Chris will proudly present you with the Eagle Dad pin. This pin symbolizes your father’s significant role and support in your journey toward achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.
Chris places the Eagle Mentor pin on Eagle Coach Mike Catapano.
Lance’s family: Laura Parker, Jessica Hall, McKenna Hall, Mary Parker, Jonah Lance, Will Hall, Ericka Parker, and Michelle Parker.
Every celebration deserves a delicious cake! Congratulations to Chris and Jonah on their remarkable achievements as Eagle Scouts. Their hard work, dedication, and commitment have paid off, and they deserve to be celebrated for their accomplishments. May their future endeavors be as sweet and fulfilling as the slice of cake, they enjoy in honor of their achievements.
Congratulations indeed to Chris and Jonah on their remarkable achievements as Eagle Scouts! Their hard work, dedication, and commitment have truly paid off, and they deserve to be celebrated for their accomplishments. As they savor a delicious cake to mark this special occasion, may it serve as a reminder of the sweet rewards of pursuing one’s goals with passion and determination. Here’s to a future filled with continued success and fulfillment for Chris and Jonah!
Parsippany Hills High School Football Coach Dave Albano with Jonah Lance

BSA Eagle Hall of Fame: 1957 to 2023: James Searing, Geoffrey Brown, John Chervenak, Guy Corbett, Tim Corbett, Robert Burney, Juan Correa, Richard Lauber, Tim Roche, Christopher Callahan, Thomas Cook, Stephan Pirylis, Brian Stewart, Patrick Roche, Edward Chiorazzi, Brian Pomarlen, Simon Healey, Keith Henderlong, David Chezem, Alex Lin, Robert Strechay, Jr., John Oleske, Daniel Strechay, Joseph Strechay, Kevin Smithers, Joseph Stevens, James Ward, Jason Viglione, Michael DeGuarde, Michael Smith, Tim Foster, Christopher Malcolm, Mark Viglione, Gary Hwang, William Barcliffe IV, Jonathan Cook, Daniel Aguanno, Anthony Valvano, Eric Kratz, David Kratz, Thomas Corigliano, David Kinskey-Lebeda, Ryan Diggle, Mike Fulton, Dan Fulton, Brian Galley, Shane Moravsik, Paul Rossnagel, Jesse Garbarino, Shay Grabinsky, Sean Galley, Matthew Breeman, Ryan Barwick, Dylan Grabinsky, John Stretavski, Brendan Barwick, Eric Galley, Bobby Ebel, Sean Michie, Michael Ludwig, Matthew Luther, Chris Gardner, Chris Worthington, Cameron Boone, Daniel Metcalf, Rishi Konkesa, Noah Munn, Erik Darling, Thomas Catapano, Daniel Corcoran, Colin Aguesseau, David Dodd III, Michael Gaudio, Galen Wu, Timothy Metcalf, David Albin, Ryan Porcelli, Jack Summa, Anthony Paterno, Chris Meumann, Alex Geddes, David Sinchi, Kyle Cipkins, Anli Liu, Joseph Messana, Evan Vojta, Matthew Sinchi, Sreemanth Meka, Dylan Franz, Jacob Kaplan, Tyler Catapano, Ethan Geddes, Andrew Modin, Matthew Rankel, Christopher Stearns, Nicholas Shatynski, Jonah Lance, Ethan Adams, and Andrei Filipescu.

Troop 173 was chartered by the Sedgefield Civic Association in 1957. Yet, Troop 173 has included boys from over Morris County in its programs. While most of our members come from Parsippany, from Lake Parsippany to Powder Mill and across the Township, we have had members as far away as Succasunna and Randolph.

For several years the Troop met in an old mansion on the former Ballantine estate where the Mack-Cali Business campus now stands. Upon completing the gymnasium at Littleton School in the early sixties, its weekly Friday night meetings moved there. In 2009, the troop’s home base for meetings moved to Mt. Tabor School off Park Road.

During its 60-year history, eighteen Scoutmasters have led Troop 173, assisted by many trained Assistant Scoutmasters and an active Troop Committee. They have assisted in overseeing Troop 173’s active outdoor program for well over 1200 boys, of which 73 have become Eagle Scouts, or approximately twice the national average. Among our Eagle Scouts is a partner in an accounting firm, an attorney, a physician, a radio programming director, and an Air Force officer. Undoubtedly the leadership skills learned as Scouts have helped them with their achievements.

Many youth leaders have had the opportunity to share the fellowship of Scouting across the United States by participating in National Jamborees on both the East and West coasts and in leadership training locally and at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

Community service has always been an important part of Troop 173’s program. Eagle Scout projects have included work at public recreation spaces in Sedgefield, Glacier Hills, Lake Parsippany, and Knoll Park. Other service projects have been wide-reaching – they have benefited the Parsippany Public Library, The Parsippany Volunteer Ambulance Squad, Parsippany Little League, and we have helped victims of hurricanes and flooding by collecting supplies and money to be distributed by local disaster relief.  In 2017, the Fishwick District (eastern Morris County area) recognized the Scout Troop with the most community service hours in the year.

Troop 173 has participated annually in the “Scouting for Food” national “Good Turn”; over 30,000 items have been donated to a Parsippany food bank. Troop 173 has been at the forefront of the recycling movement. One of our early fundraisers was a deposit bottle collection. They collected scrap newspapers and magazines for over fifteen years until Parsippany began mandatory recycling. Along with collections in the other sections of town, our newspaper collection allowed Parsippany to earn a grant from the State of New Jersey to expand the reach and scope of its recycling program. 






Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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