Good News Sunday: One Barrington family, two Eagle Scouts

  • Blake Garrels, 18, of Barrington, earned the rank of Eagle Scout just as his father, John, did 31 years ago.

    Blake Garrels, 18, of Barrington, earned the rank of Eagle Scout just as his father, John, did 31 years ago. Courtesy of Jennifer Garrels

  • Rohan Ganeshan, 15, and grade school friend Sachleen Tuteja, 14, have been collecting donations of unneeded electronics to put them in the hands of others who need them.

      Rohan Ganeshan, 15, and grade school friend Sachleen Tuteja, 14, have been collecting donations of unneeded electronics to put them in the hands of others who need them. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted10/4/2020 5:30 AM

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published by the Daily Herald during the previous week:

A family in Barrington has not one, but two members who are Eagle Scouts, a rank achieved by few in the scouting community.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Blake Garrels, a senior at Barrington High School, became an Eagle Scout during a ceremony recently at his family's home in Barrington. His father, John, earned the rank 31 years ago in his native Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

To become an Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts must progress through all seven ranks, earn 21 merit badges, serve six months in a position of responsibility and plan and lead a service project, among other things. Only 8% of Scouts accomplished that last year, according to Boy Scouts of America.

Becoming an Eagle Scout like his dad has been his goal for years, said Blake, who joined Troop 29 in Barrington in fifth grade.

"It was challenging. It's a lot of learning new skills," he said. "I think sometime you may want to say, 'Oh, I don't want to do this' or 'I should quit,' but, really, it teaches you valuable skills that you'll need and use later in life."

Blake's dad served as assistant scoutmaster for his son's troop for four years, which gave the two further chance to bond.

For the full story, click here.

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Students collect tech to help others e-learn

A pair of suburban high school students are working toward a shared dream: to make digital devices accessible to more students.

Their collection box near the entrance to Arlington Heights Memorial Library has drawn steady donations -- of mostly laptops and iPads -- and the teens are just getting started.

Rohan Ganeshan, a freshman at Buffalo Grove High School, and Sachleen Tuteja, a sophomore at Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, met while junior high students at Quest Academy in Palatine.

Beyond their love of math and science, the two share a passion for service and helping others. The pandemic only magnified that. When schools made the switch to e-learning, the disparity among students who had access to technology in their homes and those who did not was glaring to these teens.

"Ensuring distance learning is nearly impossible for these students, especially given the high-level interactions in classes," Rohan said. "Not to mention, this puts them at a major disadvantage and at a risk of not getting a proper education to secure their future."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

For the full story, click here.

'Summer School' for younger siblings

For many preschool students, the break since their last in-person schooling has lasted a significant portion of their very young lives.

But a small group of third- through sixth-graders in Schaumburg's Wyndham Cove neighborhood helped bridge some of the gap for their younger siblings and neighbors this summer by running their own "Summer Fun School" out of an open garage.

For several weeks, the student-crafted curriculum included lessons in reading, writing and music. Gym classes included biking or riding scooters. And it all ended with the presentation of certificates of completion at a graduation ceremony attended by Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 Board of Education President Bob Kaplan, who lives in the neighborhood.

Parent Sarang Kortikar said he marveled at the self-motivation of his 10-year-old daughter Ananya and four of her friends, who recognized the impact COVID-19 isolation was having on the younger children. But they also were aware of safety protocols, he said.

"They knew they had to be very careful," Kortikar said.

For the full story, click here.

Addison seniors put together COVID-19 kits

Addison Mayor Rich Veenstra worked alongside the Addison Park District Senior Club to assemble 1,000 COVID-19 Readiness Kits recently.

"Addison has faced many challenges over the years, and we have learned that no challenge is insurmountable when we all come together and help one another," Veenstra said. Each kit contains disposable masks, hand sanitizer and educational materials.

For children, there are even COVID-related coloring books and colored pencils.

Distribution continues weekly this month.

For the full story, click here.

• Good News Sunday will run each weekend. Visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our Good News Sunday newsletter.

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