Baylor freshman Brent Coppage, a boarding student from Saudi Arabia, has earned the status of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. Only four percent of Scouts rise to the rank of Eagle Scout.
Along with earning at least 21 merit badges, Eagle Scouts must plan, organize, lead, and manage an extensive service project. Coppage, an expatriate American whose father is based by Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, completed his service project in Saudi. "My mom is a counselor at an elementary school in Dhahran and, during the pandemic, the kindergartners didn't have any place to play outside," explained Coppage. "The only play equipment they had was tricycles, but they had no real place to ride them. I organized five other scouts to help me paint some lines on the parking lot to make sort of a fun track for the kids to ride their tricycles. The whole point of the project is leadership of the other scouts. Showing the initiative, doing the planning, budgeting...that's what the Eagle project is about. It's more about the process."
Coppage, who joined the Boy Scouts in fifth grade, does not meet with a troop in the U.S. but sometimes will join the Saudi troop via Facetime. He expects to receive his Eagle badge at a Court of Honor ceremony this December in Dhahran.
The first year for a Baylor boarding student can be tough, especially for one so far from home, but Coppage says that being a Scout helped him prepare for it. "One hundred percent," he states emphatically. "We follow the Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent). Being trustworthy, respectful to everyone and their own space, those are really important when you come to boarding school. Those rules help us to become brothers."