Education

Eagle Scout Project Produces Extraordinary Act of Kindness for Local Students

Central Catholic High School Senior Van Scaglione turned his Eagle Scout project into an extraordinary act of kindness for students at Kelly Primary School in the Wilkinsburg School District.

Central Catholic High School Senior Van Scaglione dropped off school uniforms and gift cards to Kelly Primary teacher Diane Meszaros. He collected the items as his Eagle Scout project.

On Aug. 27, Kelly Primary Kindergarten teacher Diane Meszaros experienced what she refers to as an extraordinary act of kindness.

On that day, Central Catholic High School Senior Van Scaglione, showed up at Kelly Primary with more than 170 school uniforms in tow. Packed neatly by age, size and clothing type, Van carried in container after container of uniforms for the students. He also had gift cards valued at more than $2,000 that can be used to purchase additional uniforms, or any other needs of the students.

"I was blown away as he carried in bin after bin to the school that day," said Mrs. Meszaros. "What a wonderful thing for him to do for our students."

Kelly Primary students, as with all students in the Wilkinsburg School District, are required to wear uniforms to school. The uniforms Van collected will be used during times when students may spill something on their regular uniform or have other accidents while wearing them during the school day, so they have a change of clothes. Uniforms also can be provided to families who need assistance in purchasing them. Mrs. Meszaros said the gift cards will be used to purchase other needs for the students, which may include clothing, shoes, or school supplies. "We've decided those gift cards will be used only for the students and their needs," she said.

Van had undertaken the task of collecting uniforms and donations for the students at Kelly as his Eagle Scout project, something he said his Scout Master was thrilled to approve. He kicked off his project by visiting three area churches during Mass - St. Bede, St. James and Mother of Good Counsel - and speaking to the parishioners about his project. Van said he addressed the congregants immediately following the Homily, which was focused around the idea of community service, as a lead into his project.

"I was amazed at the generosity of those who donated," said Van. "What I was able to collect far exceeded my expectations for this project going into it."

Kelly Primary has held a special place in Van's heart for the last 13 years. He used to visit the school during Christmastime with his Montessori preschool. The families from his daycare program would bring gifts and cookies and other party items to Kelly to spread some holiday cheer. "He was only 4 or 5 at the time, but he remembers coming to the school and having fun with the students in my class," said Mrs. Meszaros. "It's pretty amazing that after all these years, he thought to come back and do something like this for our kids."

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