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St Rose of Lima School has a new sandbox for its preschool students, thanks to Boy Scout Troop 270 member Gabriel “Gabe” Locke, who created it for his Eagle Scout project.
Gabe attends Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury. A dedication ceremony was held at St Rose of Lima School on September 13.
Following the ceremony, Gabe explained he began planning his project in January, and the first shovel was in the ground in May. When he was first thinking of options for his Eagle Scout project, Gabe said he remembered his mother talking about the preschool needing a sandbox.
Gabe said his family is involved with the St Rose of Lima community, and when he approached Principal Sister Colleen Therese Smith she approved his project.
“Once the principal approved it, I needed to know okay, how am I going to get materials to build this and who is going to supply the materials to build this,” Gabe explained.
Curits Verdi of the Verdi Construction Company in Bethel donated all of the materials — like the wood, sand, and gravel — for the project, according to Gabe. The Doherty family who owns PJ’s Laundromat in Sandy Hook also helped, and, Gabe added; Dan Doherty ran the excavator for the project while his son Pat helped to build the sandbox.
“To complete the actual sand box… from putting a shovel in the ground, it took three days,” said Gabe.
Looking back over his efforts, Gabe said he is most proud of the people who helped him build the sandbox and of the structure itself.
Gabe’s family members— mom Donna, father Chris, and brother John— all helped.
“Both my parents have helped me, not just with the actual project, but with motivation to get it going,” Gabe said.
Mr Verdi, Gabe added, helped him design the sandbox. Other people who helped on the project included Bill Watts of Boy Scout Troop 370, and Troop 270 Scoutmaster Rob Ciccarelli. Gabe also thanked Sister Colleen and Monsignor Robert Weiss for their support.
Gabe said preschool students attended the dedication ceremony with plastic buckets and shovels in hand. When the students finally had the chance to use their tools to play in the sandbox for the first time, Gabe said it was “priceless. I loved it.”
His Eagle Scout project, Gabe explained is one of the major steps toward completing his Eagle Scout award. Gabe has plans to earn a two-year degree in precision machining before serving in the military.
“Eagle Scouts will help me with all of that. A lot of colleges look for leaders. With the Eagle Scout rank it shows I was able to lead a group of people to build a project,” Gabe said.