Luke Michaelis will be the first to admit it: he didn’t become an Eagle Scout by himself.
“My parents were there for me, pushing me to do my best, and my brother, who is also an Eagle Scout, set an example for me, too,” he said. “My Boy Scout Troop supported me, so I definitely didn’t do this on my own.”
Michaelis, who lives in the Medlock Bridge area of Johns Creek, was recently honored by the City Council for earning the prestigious Eagle Scout medal, the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) highest rank – a mark reached by less than five percent of all boy scouts since the organization started in 1910.
The rank of Eagle Scout, which must be obtained before a scout’s 18th birthday, is the pinnacle level of the BSA, which has about 2.4 million youth participants annually and has seen more than 110 million Americans participate in its program since inception.
“Being in Boy Scouts taught me leadership skills, discipline, resiliency and how to do what makes me happy,” Michaelis, 16, said. “It’s also brought me even closer to my family.”
“Family” is a word Michaelis, a junior at King’s Ridge Christian School, uses a lot when he recently spoke of becoming the second Eagle Scout in his family, joining older brother Foster, a senior at Chattahoochee High School.
Luke has always looked up to Foster, who gave Luke a blueprint of how to become an Eagle Scout, which according to the BSA, “is not just an award; it is a state of being. Those who earned it as youth continue to earn it every day as adults.”
Boy Scouts has formed an enduring bond between Luke and Foster. While Foster now is too old to earn any more badges, he still plays an active role in helping Luke.
“Being Scouts have brought Luke and Foster closer together because they’ve been experienced so many things together for the time, like sleep-away camp and scout trips,” said Keri Michaelis, Luke and Foster’s mom. “Every kid is different and I just want my kids to be good people. Scouts have made them better people and more balanced. I don’t focus on their grades. I know what my kids’ potential is and I want them to be prepared to be successful and to make a difference in their community. Boys Scouts is doing that for Luke and Foster.”
After earning more than 20 merit badges, Luke’s final step was to complete an original project to better his community. But there was one caveat: on the day the project went live, he could only instruct his team how to set it up and make it operational.
“It was like having to create something and then write an instruction book so anyone could set it up,” Luke said. “My family was great the whole time and I had a lo of volunteers help me.”
Luke’s project can be found outside id Medlock Bridge Elementary School, where his team installed weather boards that include a hydrometer, barometer, thermometer, a wind gauge and a rain gauge, pulleys, levers and wheels and axles. Each board includes grade-appropriate lessons so students between pre-kindergarten and fifth grade can experience hand’s on learning.
“Where else can someone at that age be given the opportunity to show their leadership and their communication on a project this big?” Keri said. “Boy Scouts.”
Luke said he wouldn’t have been able to earn Boy Scouts’ most coveted honor without having his family’s support since the first time he put on the iconic uniform.
“My whole family pushed me and were always there for me every step of the way.” Luke said. “To see the project go up at Medlock Bridge Elementary School made everyone who helped me feel good that we have done something to make our community better.”
“I’m super proud of him,” said Foster, who Luke credits for helping him make sure the 200-hour project came in under budget. “This was really important to him.”
Becoming an Eagle Scout is just the latest accomplishment for Luke, who has taken the lessons he’s learned from being in Troop 2000 to other areas of his life. He’s a straight-A student at King’s Ridge Christian, scored the lead role of Bobby Child in his high school’s rendition of “Crazy for You” and plays four instruments – the piano, guitar, drums and ukulele – as part of his deep appreciation of music.