Nishanth soars high, awarded Eagle Scout

Q&A with junior Nishanth Chidambaram


Nishanth Chidambaram

SOAR. Chidambaram’s special project was rebuilding the steps of the Symmes Park bridge. A special service project is a well-known, major requirement in the journey to become an Eagle Scout. Boy Scouts has been a top priority in his life, to the extent that he quit Winter Track and other activities to devote his time to this one.

Q: What does it mean to be an Eagle Scout?
A: There are a bunch of requirements in scouts; if you fulfill the requirements, you go up a rank, and Eagle Scout is the highest rank. Being an Eagle Scout is a big deal because there is a really big difference between Eagle Scout and the rank below it. Not many know about the other ranks, but once you get Eagle Scout, everyone knows how prestigious it is and knows you are a leader: you can do work, and they can trust you to get stuff done.

Q: What was your motivation?
A: Originally it was because my brother was an Eagle Scout, and I didn’t want to be inferior. But then it was a tangible goal I could reach. Instead of just saying “I’m going to be a scout,” saying “I’m going to be an Eagle Scout” was something to work towards.

Q: What are the requirements to be an Eagle Scout?
A: A lot of the requirements are usually more service-based and knowledge-based. For me, I fulfilled the merit badges, and those are different knowledge-based awards. One is public speaking, showing that you can do it and that you’ve improved, then you’ll get a merit badge. There are also ones for swimming, sailing, etc.

Q: What was the hardest requirement to fulfill?
A: The hardest one was probably the personal fitness one because it took a lot of effort. Also, for all the other ranks you have to do six hours of service. But for Eagle Scout instead of volunteering at service projects, you have to make your own volunteer project.

Q: What was your project?
A: I found a service project at Symmes Park. They gave me a project that I started. I planned everything. I led everything. I got the materials. The project was a set of steps on both sides of the bridge at the park. The old ones were rotting, so they asked me to take them out and replace them.

Q: When did you start Boy Scouts?
A: I started Boy Scouts in first grade as a Club Scout, then I was able to become a Boy Scout later in the February of fifth grade. In Boy Scouts, it is scouts led, so the Boy Scouts decide on everything. In Club Scouts, it is all the adults deciding on everything, and the scouts just follow along.

Q: What is your favorite memory from boy scouts?
A: A few years ago, I went on a camp out to Florida because the Boy Scouts own an island [called Big Munson Island] from the Keys, a couple miles out. It cost a lot of money, but it was for ten days. We did stuff like boating, fishing, deep sea fishing, shark fishing, and snorkeling – there were reefs right out there. It was great.