WEDDINGTON – Matthew McCulla recently used his Eagle Scout project to make his mark on a program he’s enjoyed for the past several years: the Weddington High School marching band.
The 17-year-old rising senior recently was recognized in an Eagle Court of Honor for completing work on a parking area at Weddington High designated for the marching band trailer. The project, along with other required badges, earned Matthew the rank of Eagle – the highest merit a Boy Scout can achieve.
Matthew became involved in Cub Scouts as a Bear Scout and continued advancing through the different ranks and assuming leadership positions. Part of the reason he chose to stick with the program was he loved the activities it offered – particularly campouts and other outdoor adventures such as whitewater rafting. Matthew knew he wanted to follow through to the end by earning his Eagle rank when the time came.
“I guess it was a combination of getting that far into the process and wanting that feeling of reward – being able to achieve Eagle – as well as pressures from the other guys in my patrol that had already gotten Eagle,” said Matthew, a member of Troop 46, which meets at Siler Presbyterian Church in Wesley Chapel. “A big part of that was my internal drive, being able to do it and say, ‘Yes, I did it.’”
Matthew knew he wanted to do something to benefit Weddington High’s marching band – another program he’s heavily involved in as a bass drummer for the percussion line. He chose to focus his efforts on the area where the marching band trailers are parked – which formerly consisted of dirt and grass and “didn’t look good at all,” he said.
The first steps involved drawing out sketches, talking to school leaders and the school’s band boosters board.
“They were pretty excited about it because they understood there was a bit of a problem with parking the trailers,” Matthew said. “… The whole school was 100 percent for it.”
The construction phase involved killing and removing the grass in the area, landscaping and leveling the ground, digging trenches and framing the area with timbers, laying landscaping fabric and pouring gravel over the fabric. Beautification also was part of the project and included the planting of bushes in the area.
The majority of the project was funded through donations, including a large contribution from Martin Marietta Materials, which donated 20 tons of gravel. Sunbelt Rentals also pitched in by drilling holes for the bushes.
In addition to material donations, volunteers – including fellow Scouts, band members and their parents – contributed time on two different workdays. Matthew said his favorite part of the effort was watching the project materialize during the construction phase.
“My favorite part was actually doing it, being able to lead the Scouts during the project … (and) also the feeling of it actually coming together and getting done,” Matthew said. “It was just a nice feeling being able to stand there and monitor (and see) everything come together nicely.”
Weddington High School Principal Jonathan Bowers said Matthew’s project not only benefits the marching band, but also adds a nice aesthetic element to the school.
“He kind of transformed it from what once was a kind of muddy, sparsely-seeded grass area to a nice gravel parking area,” Bowers said. “It’s something that’s going to be well used for many years to come.”
Matthew said the project has, above all else, taught him valuable leadership skills he plans to use as he enters his senior year of high school, continues to lead Scouts and, eventually, attends college with the goal of becoming a pilot in the military.
“It’s nice knowing that I have a certain, pretty broad set of skills and knowledge that I can pull from for just about everything,” he said. “The whole Scouting experience has prepared me for my life.”