The most important high school lessons learned by Payton Giesing, Drew Klauser and Brett Tipton might focus on community not curriculum.
The three Eagle Scouts graduated May 21 as part of the 94-member Quincy Notre Dame Class of 2017, taking with them a sense of service to others.
"A lot of people think, 'I'm just a kid, what can I do?' Through the scouting program and QND, too, the amount of service that we do for our community is astronomical," Klauser said. "It really does show kids what we can all achieve when we work together and do stuff for your community."
Community service is a key mission at QND, which works to educate lifelong learners for lives of service. Students are required to log 10 hours of service per year, but the trio had a cumulative total of 961 service hours documented during their four years at QND.
At the same time, the three headed community service projects to earn Eagle Scout recognition. Giesing, 18, worked on a landscaping project at Madonna House. Klauser, 18, built an awning entrance at St. Dominic School, where he attended grade school and starting scouting. Tipton, 17, landscaped and added a patio behind St. Peter School. A fourth classmate, Robert Gallaher, is very close to completing his Eagle Scout.
"My brother was very fond of Boy Scouting. I wanted to be like him when I was a younger kid, and when he got his Eagle Scout, I wanted to do that too. It's a major accomplishment to help throughout life," Giesing said.
"Throughout Scouting, the goal is to learn as much as you can, and the final rank was Eagle Scout," Tipton said. "All of us are like finishers. We do things to the full extent. The full extent was Eagle Scout, and we learned a lot."
All perfectionists, the boys push themselves to succeed.
"We want to be the best we can, to show our abilities," Klauser said. "To achieve Eagle Scout was a way we did that."
All three said the projects helped teach both service and leadership skills for the next phase of their lives.
Two of the three will head to Maryville University -- Klauser to study cybersecurity and Giesing occupational therapy. Tipton will attend John Wood Community College for industrial maintenance.
"With that service work, I also helped in the hospital when I saw the therapy department. I found I was interested in occupational therapy and wanted to do that when I was older," said Giesing, the son of Brian and Diane Giesing.
Interacting with the older generation at the Illinois Veterans Home also made a lasting impression on the three. Their Scout troops take turns pushing wheelchair-bound veterans to Sunday morning mass.
"It kind of teaches you giving up yourself for someone else. They gave up a lot for us. The least we can do is try to return the favor," said Klauser, the son of Todd and Kelly Klauser.
The volunteer work was fun and educational.
"It's almost like you get those three minutes of pure learning when you push them to the church," Giesing said.
But it also took motivation to finish their Eagle projects and balance the requirements with schoolwork and extracurricular activities.
"The project paperwork takes a long time, a lot of planning," said Tipton, the son of Daniel and Carolyn Tipton.
Giesing and Klauser were heavily involved in QND activities, including Student Council and youth group, while Brett spent time outdoors hunting, fishing and camping with family and friends.
All three also take away lessons in giving respect -- and earning it based on their own actions.
"Here at QND, I've built a lot of relationships with teachers, students. Those relationships are going to get me farther in life than anything in a textbook," Klauser said. "Those people skills and those connections that you have will help you get farther in life than the knowledge you can test out of."
Source: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://bit.ly/2rhVkbY
Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://www.whig.com
This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by The Quincy Herald-Whig.