How Eagle Scout Dorje John built a $30K wall at Summit High School
June 3, 2017
Some folks wondered if he'd bit off more than he could chew. Others balked at the idea of a $30,000 concrete slab in the middle of a field. Even he wondered if he could raise enough cash and secure a fire permit for such an enormous Eagle Scout project, which spanned from his freshman lacrosse season to this past winter, when the 17-year-old was a junior on the Summit High boys team.
But no one is wondering any longer. Dorje John has built the wall.
"It was really nice to get out there and have the feeling of throwing a ball against a wall that I built, a wall that I worked to make real," said John, who modeled the 12-foot high, 24-foot wide concrete slab after a similar installment he saw at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards. "It was cool to see that it actually worked."
Not only does it work — it's a much-needed addition to the Tigers lacrosse teams. Before now, the boys and girls had no real place to practice ball control, save the bumpy side of the stadium building, and that was frowned upon.
So John, who has played lacrosse for 10 years and been in Scouting nearly as long, decided to build a wall. It seemed easy enough — build a flat, upright slab and plunk it in a field — but he never realized just how intricate construction can be. He had to get approval from the school before securing a fire permit to pour concrete, and that was all before finding a contractor to donate about $15,000 worth of material. Eagle Scout projects call for planning, fundraising, project management and volunteer coordination, and all of it had to be done without opening a personal checkbook.
"At one point, I thought about not doing the wall when I realized how much money I needed to raise and how much time this would take before it could even get done," said John, a longtime Summit native born in Nepal. "I thought about doing something easier to get my Eagle quicker, but I wanted to stay with it because I really thought it would help the athletic community at the high school."
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As a freshman, John moved from Boy Scouts to Venturing, a high-adventure coed arm of Scouting. One of his adult leaders there, T.A. Rosko, who simply goes by "Rosko," was one of the many who shared John's doubts about the wall.
"I was thinking, 'Did Dorje bite off more than he can chew?'" Rosko remembered from when John started planning the project in fall 2015. "But the finished project was excellent and I think he learned that there's more planning and scheduling involved than he thought there would be."
The project took plenty of work: 206 total man hours spread over a full year, including 30 by John alone for hand-sanding the rough concrete to a smooth, lacrosse-ready surface. Armstrong Concrete Forming of Breckenridge donated the concrete, but John and a crew of volunteers did all of the form building and finishing, and the wall is one of few Eagle Project designed to last for decades and decades. It's concrete after all, and that's something John likes to think about, especially now that it's finished. He received his Eagle Scout rank this February and still has a full year to use the wall as a senior lacrosse mid.
"I've been told by a lot of lacrosse parents and players that it's really cool and that they're glad it got done," John said. "I mentioned this idea to lots of people, like old coaches, and they've told me they're happy it's there."
Long live the wall.
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