Special Photo: Mathew Halvorson, of Jonesboro, recently earned the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout Award.
Mathew Halvorson, like other 17-year-olds, has the daunting task of planning for his future — choosing which career to pursue, and what ways to pursue it.
Halvorson, who already has acceptances to several colleges, plans to major in engineering when he goes off to college in the fall. He said he is debating whether to focus his studies on materials engineering. The Jonesboro resident also plans to pursue work in the ministry for the United Methodist Church.
The teen demonstrates a quiet confidence about his future, and his accomplishments to this point in his young life. He credits his self-assurance to his faith, family, and participation in the Boy Scouts of America.
Halvorson recently earned the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout Award, as a scout in the Flint River Council Tussahaw District, with Troop 160, chartered by the Jodeco Road United Methodist Church, in Stockbridge.
His accomplishment was recognized last month in a ceremony at his church, Wesley Way United Methodist Church, in McDonough.
He first joined scouts as a third-grader, with Cub Scout Pack 543 in Jonesboro. He has served as the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 160, assistant senior patrol leader, historian, librarian, scribe, patrol leader, Troop Guide and Order of the Arrow Representative.
Halvorson is now a senior at New Creation Christian Academy (NCCA) in McDonough, where he is president of NCCA’s National Honor Society, and is a National Merit Scholar finalist. He is the son of Paul Halvorson, a scoutmaster, and Jayne Clepper.
“You have to keep pushing through, because it’s a good experience,” young Halvorson said. “What you get along the way is a character that is hard to come by.”
The high school senior put his character to the test when he led a major project in order to meet requirements for making Eagle Scout. To earn an Eagle Scout title, scouts must earn 21 merit badges, demonstrate leadership, and successfully complete a community-or church-related service project.
Halvorson earned 31 merit badges and chose to work with the United Methodist Men to organize and manage the installation of a Children’s/Memorial Garden at Wesley Way United Methodist Church. The project included the construction of an entrance archway, a 70-foot-long paver walkway, and building a shed.
“The neat thing about it is that about 75 of some 400 pavers are engraved,” said Halvorson, who raised funds for the project by selling the engraved pavers.
Halvorson said he worked on the project for almost three years. He got the support of 40 scouts and adults, who worked some 440 hours on the project. He said the resulting garden would serve as a place for the church’s children’s ministry. Youths will maintain the garden and use it as an interactive outdoor classroom and memorial.
“The reason I took on the whole garden is because the men’s group [United Methodist Men] at our church wanted to support it,” he explained. “It was something that had been on the books for three years, and nothing had been done. There were some weekends we worked late Saturdays and Sundays. It was an interesting experience — definitely a good one. I had to learn how to think on my feet, and figure out how we were going to get things done.”