Eagle Scout hopeful builds outdoor classroom at former campus


Former Coakley Middle School and current Harlingen High School South senior Zachary Gonzalez recently completed a project to help the students at his former campus learn in a new environment.

As part of his Eagle Scout project, Gonzalez, with the help of Troup 2101, designed and built an outdoor classroom for the students and teachers of Coakley. The classroom is an extension of the campus’ butterfly garden. In total, the project took two months to complete.

“We started planning the project in May,” said Gonzalez. “I picked this project because I’m a former Coakley student and my brother’s Eagle Scout project was also here. I saw the butterfly garden and wanted to add to it. This would be something to help other students.”

Coakley eighth grade Science teacher Norma Gonzalez is excited for what the outdoor classroom will mean for her students, and she sees her class having a similar perspective on the newly built project, she said.

“I’m excited to hold my class here,” said Gonzalez. “The idea is to get our students outside of our classroom and give them hands on experience.”

Principal Pedro Sanchez also hopes that students will see the area as a new way to learn. He also commends Gonzalez’s efforts to give back to his former campus and to the contributions that he has made for students to enjoy for years to come.

“The main thing is for us is to push the connection of our instruction to real life scenarios,” said Sanchez. “I think the garden will achieve that, and it’s a great achievement. It will serve the purpose of connecting curriculum to hands on experience.”

With his Eagle Scout project complete, Gonzalez will move forward with the final phases of earning his Eagle ranking. The next steps include an application process and a board review that solidifies that he has met all of the requirements.

“I’m looking forward to finally accomplishing the biggest achievement there is in Boy Scouts,” said Zachary. “I’ve been in the scouts since I was 11 years old. It’s a great feeling.”

For any Boy Scout, the Eagle ranking is prestigious achievement. The Eagle Scout Award is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. Earning this award is very rare as only 4% of all Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Since 1912, more than 2 million Boy Scouts have attained this rank.

To earn the Eagle rank, a boy must advance through 6 ranks and earn at least 21 merit badges. Required merit badges include the First Aid, Emergency Preparedness, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, and Citizenship in the World, Communications, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, Family Life, Hiking and Swimming.

One thought on “Eagle Scout hopeful builds outdoor classroom at former campus

  1. Congratulations on earning your Eagle Scout badge, Zachary! This looks really wonderful! I know Mrs. Gonzales and the other teachers at Coakley M.S. will utilize this great idea.

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