Merrimack Scout earns Eagle rank by building ‘Wall of Principals’

"I wanted to give back to Merrimack High School," Conner Pearson said with a smile.

"I wanted to participate in preserving the history of my school."

And that is just what this energetic and service-oriented young man from Merrimack did. He created "The Wall of Principals."

Enclosed in glass in the school’s large front entryway, this beautiful display features pictures, videos and histories of all of the principals of Merrimack High School since its founding in 1950.

Superintendent Marjorie Chiafery and Principal Kenneth Johnson were elated with the results.

"The display is exquisitely done and very powerful," Johnson said. "It inspires people to value history … and gives them a sense of tradition."

Using this as his Boy Scout Eagle project, Pearson logged a total of 184 man hours over a 10-month period before finally completing the project. He recruited a team of his high school friends who researched and pieced together a historical summary and list of contributions for each principal.

Phillip Carle, the school’s wood shop teacher, helped Pearson design and build the wooden frames for each picture, and Michael Cirelli, the photography teacher, worked with Pearson on securing and developing the pictures for the display.

Other faculty members, friends, family and neighbors pitched in. They volunteered to help with everything from organizing a car wash, to funding the project, to hanging the display.

Pearson was awarded the Boy Scouts’ highest rank of Eagle on Aug. 30. Attending the ceremony was state Rep. Jeanine Notter, who awarded him a certificate of achievement from the state. She also gave him a copy of the New Hampshire Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Notter commended Pearson on his achievements and explained how impressed she was by his willingness to serve others around him.

Earning 21 merit badges, hiking hundreds of miles, camping in all kinds of weather and canoeing miles of river are but a few of the many hard things Pearson had to do to achieve this honor.

But Pearson’s desire to serve others did not stop at his graduation. He has decided to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Pearson is literally taking his faith on the road. He accepted an invitation to work with the Spanish-speaking population in St. George, Utah. He joins 10 other young people from the Merrimack and Nashua congregations serving all over the world, including Russia, Oregon, Missouri, Spain, Argentina, Africa, Paraguay and France. They serve 18-24 months and follow the Mormon tradition of deferring higher education for a time to pursue mission work – proselytizing, teaching, learning, helping others and immersing themselves in cultures far different from their own.

"Conner is joining over 85,000 Mormon missionaries currently serving in more than 400 countries," said Tasha Parker, LDS public affairs director for Greater Nashua. "Missionaries pay their own way – food, housing and travel expenses – putting off school, work and dating to completely devote themselves to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"Where they serve is assigned them by the president of the church, Thomas S. Monson. They don’t choose where they go."

After his mission, Pearson plans to attend Brigham Young University.

It seems that this young man not only has created a "Wall of Principals" for his school, but also a foundation of principles upon which he is building his life.