Thomas Jefferson football player attains Eagle Scout rank

Friday, January 5, 2018 | 11:00 PM

Thomas Jefferson senior Logan Burnsworth, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound lineman on the Jaguars football team, recently was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.

The 17-year-old Burnsworth, who started at offensive guard and defensive end this season, has earned 29 merit badges, ranging from his first three for camping, citizenship in nation and lifesaving (in 2012) to his last one in personal management (in 2016).

“Eagle Scout status is something only four percent of scouts ever earn,” said Burnsworth, a member of Troop 1843. “To me, it means I have earned something that is not easily obtained by the average person my age. I have committed myself to Scouting since I was little, and have worked myself through the ranks as the years went on.”

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program. The designation Eagle Scout was founded more than 100 years ago. The requirements necessary to achieve this rank take years to fulfill, and only after a lengthy review process.

Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges. An Eagle Scout must demonstrate Scout spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout oath and law, service and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads and manages.

Since its founding, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by almost 2.5 million young men. Nine have been awarded the Medal of Honor, and at least 40 astronauts received the rank as a youth.

Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes their accomplishments.

“My project was building four picnic tables for my high school's stadium,” Burnsworth said. “The project, with all of the paperwork and all the processes I had to go through, took about 200 hours (to complete).

“Everything that goes into it includes going through countless hours of earning merit badges and volunteering at many community events, along with being involved in many services and ceremonies throughout the year. Juggling my involvement in Scouting, playing football and volleyball, and keeping up with my academics has definitely been a struggle at times.”

Burnsworth's other merit badges focused on American heritage, art, aviation, chess, citizenship in community, citizenship in world, collections, communication, cooking, engineering, environmental science, family life, fingerprinting, first aid, geology, Indian lore, kayaking, mammal study, personal fitness, photography, public speaking, rifle shooting, shotgun shooting, swimming and wilderness survival.

Gary Williams is Scoutmaster of Troop 1843, and has been involved with the organization for many years.

“I think acquiring the Eagle Scout rank is different for Boy Scouts today compared to a couple of decades ago,” Williams said. “Back then, it was just the Scouts and nature, without all the distractions we have today. High school sports have become much more involved and can make it very difficult for students to maintain multiple activities.

“With that being said, it's remarkable that Logan has been able to maintain his academics, participate in the football and volleyball programs at Thomas Jefferson High School, and acquire the Eagle rank in Scouting. Logan has become a great person and friend to many of us in our troop, and we hope he is able to achieve the rest of the goals he has set for himself.”

James Bagnell is the former Scoutmaster of Troop 1843. He served as Scoutmaster for the majority of Burnsworth's time in the program.

“As a young man I knew Logan as a shy, timid boy who was very respectful but a bit socially awkward,” Bagnell said. “Throughout his time in Scouts, Logan developed a strong self-image, along with confidence in himself, and took on the role of leader when it came to grooming younger Scouts for their role in the organization.

“Logan went on to take those leadership skills and utilize them in his personal life, which included his involvement in high school football and volleyball. I believe it was through his Scouting experiences that he was able to take the tools that he had and utilize them to become the awesome young man he has become.”

Burnsworth has been involved in Scouting and athletics for most of his life. He is one of 20 seniors on the Thomas Jefferson football team.

“Logan is a great young man. He's very driven with a great work ethic,” said Bill Cherpak, the Jaguars' football coach. “He is a great role model for our younger kids and a pleasure to coach.

“He played a great game at Heinz, and was one of our most consistent performers all year. He is going through the recruiting process and will certainly play at the next level.”

In November, Thomas Jefferson won its third straight WPIAL title, and finished with an 11-2 record. The Jaguars' staunch defensive unit did not surrender a point in the WPIAL playoffs, culminating with a 27-0 victory over Montour in the Class 4A championship game at Heinz Field.

In the WPIAL finals, Burnsworth posted a team-high seven tackles, including three for losses, as the Jaguars racked up 10 tackles for losses overall. Burnsworth also caused one fumble and recovered one fumble.

“Logan had an outstanding senior season, which was a result of all his hard work that he put into the weight room, summer conditioning and the practice field,” said Pat Oster, who coaches the Jaguars linemen. “Outside of football, he is a great student and represents himself very well in the community.

“Logan achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is something that just proves how hard he works, as well as his level of determination.”

Burnsworth is a two-time all-conference selection in football, and two-time all-section selection in volleyball. He is a middle/outside hitter and four-year volleyball player for the Jaguars, and was on the All-WPIAL ballot last year at the middle hitter position.

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.


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