Weaverville – There is no higher honor in the Scouting program than achieving the title of Eagle Scout. It takes years, numerous experiences and tasks to earn that title, which is not lightly bestowed on the individual who earns the recognition.
On Saturday morning (September 3rd) at Weaverville United Methodist Church, Ryan Papaioannou, 16, in an Eagle Court of Honor, earned formal recognition to be called an Eagle Scout. The Eagle Court of Honor is the ceremony held for the recipient where their fellow scouts, friends, and family gather to mark the auspicious occasion. There the scout relives the candidate’s journey to Eagle and also gives a sort of roast where stories by family and friends are retold of the candidate’s pilgrimage to this highest achievement in Scouting.
During the ceremony, a slide show was shown that chronicled Ryan’s road to Eagle Scout; a candle lighting ceremony where the character traits of a scout were read; an Eagle Scout neckerchief and badge were presented to Ryan; and pins for Ryan’s dad, Chris, and mom, Wendy, were presented to them by their son. Ryan also spoke, thanking those who had helped him along the way, after which he was roasted by scoutmasters and fellow scouts, who recalled humorous stories about Ryan. Refreshments were served after the ceremony for those who attended.
Ryan told the Tribune he comes from a family of Eagle Scouts, including his dad, who has been with Ryan through his Scouting journey and helped with his court of honor. Ryan said he started scouting at the age of six. A junior at North Buncombe High School, Ryan is unsure of where his future will take him, saying he believes he’ll go to college but is uncertain of his field of study or what college he might attend. He is also a member of the school’s chorus and enjoys theater.
“What really got me interested in scouting is that my dad was always talking about it and we have a history of having Eagle Scouts in our family, so we have that,” Ryan said. Asked about his feelings about reaching this milestone in life, he said, “It’s honestly crazy! I don’t think I’ve totally processed it yet. ”
Only 4% of all scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Many politicians, military leaders, and even astronauts were Eagle Scouts, including Neil Armstrong and Charles Duke, two of the only 12 men who walked on the moon; President Gerald Ford; Mike Rowe, best known for being the host of “Dirty Jobs,” and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.