June 05, 2014
Northampton Community College student John Lahutsky attained Eagle Scout status, the highest rank in Boy Scouting, with Troop 362 in Bethlehem this past May.
A future as an Eagle Scout in the United States seemed unlikely early on in John's life. Born in Russia with cerebral palsy, he was left at an orphanage at 18 months and lived there until he was adopted and came to live in the United States at the age of 9. The book, "The Boy from Baby House 10," was co-authored by John about his experiences in the Russian orphanage system.
Even though he'd never attended school before, and though he spoke little English, John soaked up learning "like a sponge" when finally given the opportunity as a first grade student. "I still love learning," he said.
Learning and leadership have been two passions in John's life ever since. In the third grade, he joined the Boy Scouts. Thirty-one merit badges, some conferences, and a leadership project later and John is now a proud Eagle Scout.
"Only 4% make it to Eagle Scout," said John. "It is really hard and you have to be committed to make it, but I had fun along the way."
For his Eagle Scout leadership project, he chose to coordinate a drive for Warm the Children, an organization that sends clothing to church-run orphanages in Eastern Europe. Working over 166 hours while leading 54 volunteers, John collected over 850 pounds of brand-new clothing and raised more than $4,500 to cover shipping expenses.
As a general studies major here at Northampton, John still loves learning.
"I really have loved it at NCC. It's been a wonderful experience. There are excellent professors and staff that always want to help you," he said.
At the reception after John's Eagle Scout ceremony, several NCC staff members who have gotten to know John were there to cheer him on.
"John puts forth every effort in all of his endeavors with grace and dignity and humor," Kathi Jo Weinert, professor in Disability Services, said.
As for the future, John will continue to be active in his troop as an assistant scout master. After he finishes his education at NCC, he hopes to transfer to DeSales University to major in TV/Film.
"I would like to have a career in filming/writing/directing one day," he shared.
What's this film buff's favorite movie? Casablanca.
Here's looking at you, John!
To review Northampton Community College's guidelines for public comments, click here