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Despite Obstacles Josh Lassaline ‘23 Uses Grit and Determination to Achieve Eagle Status

Josh Lassaline ‘23 has always been inspired by his dad; early on in his education, he joined Cub Scouts, eventually progressing to Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in sixth grade with the goal to complete his Eagle rank.

“I was inspired by my dad to complete my eagle rank,” said Josh. “He had been a scout as a kid, but never completed Eagle, and I could tell he didn't want me to make the same mistake.”

Josh earned 36 badges before achieving Eagle. To reach this Eagle status, which is the highest BSA rank that only 4% of Scout members earn, Josh had to select a project that would better his community and the world. Josh chose to clear a high water kayak and canoe portage in the Island Lake State Recreation Area, which included removing a tree from the river in order to make it accessible to the public 

“I had to work with the Island Lake Department of Natural Resources (DNR) so I could get all the necessary permits and tools to accomplish this,” explained Josh. “I got the idea for this project when I was on a backpacking trek through Island Lake last spring with some other Scouts from my troop. We were canoeing part of the trek and as we approached the bridge we realized that the water level was very high. There was no path on either side of the bridge to carry our canoes around. We had to carefully lie down horizontally in our canoes in order to pass under the bridge without hitting our heads on the tree.”

One can imagine the problem this posed daily for guests wanting to pass through. The project involved a tremendous amount of planning and coordinating with state and local officials at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Huron River Watershed Council and others. Josh and his volunteers spent hundreds of hours of physical labor to organize and eventually remove the enormous dead tree from the river.

Josh’s father, Brian Lassaline, said that he was impressed by how Josh was able to assemble a terrific team of fellow Scouts and friends to assist in the effort. Josh says that balancing school, sports, clubs, and the project at the same time was no easy task.

“One of the biggest difficulties with my project was simply finding time to work on it. Most of the planning and work days occurred during the cross country season, making it difficult to find time on the weekends for work days at the park. I realized that I would just have to plan work days to be on mostly on Sundays and that I wasn't going to get everything done in one weekend,” said Josh.

Despite the literal obstacle Josh faced, he persevered and not only earned his Eagle, but improved his local state park and access for guests - and this was all done by learning the value of grit and determination.

“As Josh will acknowledge, CC has really challenged him these last four years and caused him to reflect on what’s important in life,” said Mr. Lassaline. “I think scouting has done the same, but probably a little more slowly, subtly…even somewhat surprisingly to Josh. Neither path has always been easy, and as another Shamrock reminded me of once - they’re not supposed to be! However, with a little guidance from others who have been willing to help provide a gentle push and some encouragement from time-to-time, Josh continues to blaze his own trail - and he recognizes that he’s also called by God to help others do the same.”

Josh is an active student both on and off campus. During his time at Catholic Central, he has captained the cross country and track teams, joined National Honor Society, marching and symphonic bands, HOSA - Future Health Professionals, and Spanish Honor Society.

Josh hopes to attend the University of Michigan in the fall where he plans to study dentistry. 

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