Six Exeter seniors soar to Boy Scouts’ highest rank
Everett Anez, Dane Carstens, Christopher Hogan depart high school with Eagle Scout rank
By Lisa McEwen
Special to the Sun-Gazette
EXETER – Six young men who have collectively hiked hundreds of miles of mountain trails together as members of Boy Scout Troop 309 are now taking one more step together — graduating from Exeter Union High School with their Eagle Scout rank.
Everett Anez, Dane Carstens and Christopher Hogan departed high school with Boy Scouting’s highest achievement. Evan Blaney, Jacob Contreras and Evan Stewart are awaiting official word from Boy Scouts of America within the next few months.
Exeter Union High has 213 graduates this year, 99 of whom are male. That means six percent of the young men graduating in the Class of 2018 are Eagle Scouts. In addition to being a troop record, it is also important to note that just four percent of all boys who enter Boy Scouts earn their Eagle rank.
With their fellow Scouts and dedicated adult leaders, these young men have camped under the stars on mountain tops and beaches, hiked Mt. Whitney, attended camps such as Chawanakee in Shaver Lake, Emerald Bay on Catalina Island, and some have hiked the vast wilderness of Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
They’ve retired hundreds of American flags, posted even more throughout Exeter on national holidays, and shot thousands of rounds of ammunition while earning their shotgun and rifle merit badges at Five Dogs Range in Kern County.
But most of all, their youth was guided by a program that instills self-reliance, physical and mental fitness, character development and citizenship training, all qualities that will serve them well as they move on to adulthood.
Like their individual Eagle Scout community service projects, their plans after graduation are varied and challenging:
Everett Anez — Anez built three garden beds for Sequoia Union Elementary School. He will attend University of Oregon to study business administration. “I encourage younger Scouts to never lose sight of the goals they have set for themselves, as at times it will be hard not to,” he said.
Evan Blaney — Blaney built compost stalls for FoodLink of Tulare County. He plans to continue his education at College of the Sequoias and pursue a career in professional audio. “I’m very happy to say that Scouting has been a big part of my life growing up,” Blaney said. My advice for younger Scouts is simply to never slow down. Keep your progression through ranks and requirements steady.”
Dane Carstens — Carstens erected shade structures at Schroth Park in Exeter for his Eagle Scout project. He plans to attend University of California at Irvine to study computer science.
Jacob Contreras — Contreras installed concrete slabs and picnic tables under the shade structures built by Carstens at Schroth Park. He will study criminology at College of the Sequoias.
Christopher Hogan — Hogan took on the task of rebuilding all the benches in front of the Exeter Veterans Memorial Building. He will attend Humboldt State University to study microbiology.
Evan Stewart — Stewart constructed table tops for FoodLink of Tulare County, providing work space for the many events and activities that take place at the food bank. He will study nursing at College of the Sequoias. “Scouting has helped me in so many different ways, everything from learning communication skills all the way to how to treat a rattlesnake bite. I highly recommend Scouting to everyone who considers it,” he said.
The names of these six young men will be added to a long line of plaques at the Miller-Dofflemyer building in Exeter, often referred to as the “Scout Shack.” Troop 309 is chartered by the Exeter Lions Club, and has produced 53 Eagle Scouts since its inception in 1969.