Photo: Thomas Ognibene, right, of Batavia Boy Scout Troop 6006, lights the Eagle Candle during his Eagle Scout initiation ceremony on Sunday. His father, Steve Ognibene is standing behind him. Photos courtesy of Rick Franclemont.
Here's the text of the speech that Thomas Ognibene, of Batavia, gave after being designated an Eagle Scout on Sunday:
"Wow, this is great. It is amazing how much support (I get) from family and friends that are here today. I’d like to go over some highlights of my Boy Scout journey.
First of all, I’d like to give thanks to the First United Methodist Church for supporting our troop and two years ago when we had our 100 year celebration. That was a milestone that not many troops accomplish.
Starting six years ago, back in March of 2012, Mr. and Mrs. Bartz introduced me to Scouting at a Cub Scout meeting by the invite of Shane Moak and Pack 69. And with the help of Mr. Crowley, those leaders gave me a base foundation, to get me quickly to cross over to become a Boy Scout within one month while I was in fifth grade.
When I came into Troop 69, I met Evan Bartz who became my friend and today this friendship continued through Scouts and school. We went to Brown Sea, which is a great experience, which every incoming Scout should attend right away their first summer camp. Along my journey I had to make a transition from Troop 69 to Troop 6. I felt like I needed to get a new direction in Scouting and when I did it was the help of the leaders that are here today.
When I came to Troop 6006, Dylan Scroger was the Senior Patrol Leader, under his leadership along with the new boys who welcomed me in, I began my next phase of Scouting. With there teaching and direction, I earned Second Class.
The biggest challenge I had to overcome in Scouting was one of the requirements for my next upcoming rank, First Class, and that was to successfully complete the BSA swimmer test. I had many challenges leading up to this and with the help of Mr. Mountain, Mr Geiger, and Mr. Jess Markel who came to my assistance, after many months of training going back and forth in the pool, practicing the breaststroke and resting backstroke, I was able to complete the BSA swimmer test and since then I have been a great swimmer ever since and achieved First Class Scout.