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Ridgewood scout soars like an ‘Eagle’ at ceremony

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Local high school senior Andrew Goh attained the highest rank a Boy Scout can receive — the Eagle rank — during a ceremony Sunday at the Onderdonk House in Ridgewood.

Goh is a member of St. Matthias’ Boy Scout Troop 327 in Ridgewood, led by Scoutmaster Tim Karcher. Goh’s family immigrated to the United States from Malaysia and established a life in Ridgewood, where Goh attended St. Matthias School.

For the past six years, Goh has been an active member of the Boy Scouts. He was first introduced to scouting by Thomas Dowd, former president of the Friends of the Ridgewood Library, while singing in the St. Matthias Choir. 

According to Tom Dowd — who, along with his brother John, are Eagle Scouts themselves — only 5 percent of scouts nationwide achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. In its nearly 70-year history, Troop 327 has had roughly 25 Eagle Scouts, including Andrew Goh.

As part of the journey toward the Eagle Scout rank, candidates must undertake a special service project aimed at helping a local school, religious institution or the community at large. Goh chose to refurbish the Onderdonk House picnic area as part of his service project.

“I worked on it last summer,” Goh said. “We repaired several of the tables and benches that were out of use. We also sanded everything down and re-stained them.”

The ceremony included a special portion called “Lighting the Eagle Trail” in which Goh’s family and fellow scouts were invited to light a row of 12 candles. Each candle is symbolic of one of the 12 principles of the Boy Scout Oath and Law: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Assemblyman Mike Miller presented Goh with a special citation from the New York State Assembly in recognition of his achievement. Goh also received many honors and commendations, including a congratulatory letter from President Obama.

Troop 327 may be on its way to celebrating more Eagle Scouts in the near future. Two of Goh’s fellow scouts have achieved the rank of Life Scout and are currently pursuing their Eagle Scout titles.

Goh considers the troop’s camping trips as one of his favorite aspects of being a Boy Scout.

“The thing I like most about scouting has got to be the camping because just being able to go away for a weekend and hang out with your friends is a really nice experience,” he said.

Goh is currently a senior at Stuyvesant High School and is looking forward to his graduation in June. He will attend Princeton University in the fall, where he will study operations research, a division of applied mathematics.

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