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Eagle scout honors his elementary roots
Eagle scout honors his elementary roots
Posted on 05/14/2021
Roger in the GaGa PitBeing a proud Eagle is something that has been important to Roger DeSaele his entire life. 

First, DeSaele started his education as a proud Switzer Elementary Eagle.

Now, as he wraps up his time in Utica Community Schools, he is a proud Eagle Scout.

To earn his new status with the Boy Scouts, DeSaele recently combined his love of scouting with his elementary roots by building two Ga-Ga pits at his former school.

“It was important for me to give back to Switzer since it has taught me so many lessons that shaped who I am today,” DeSaele said.  “Especially since Mr. (Switzer Principal Jacob) Palmer was a big part of that journey.  I have seen him every year since I left Switzer, and he has become a friend.”

A gaga ball pit is an enclosed area in the pattern of a circle.  Participants use a ball with their hands to try and eliminate other players. The game requires participants to avoid coming in contact with a ball directed at them by dodging, running, and jumping, with the objective of being the last person standing. 

DeSaele said the project took several months to plan and execute, with the first step the creation of a project plan. 

Using Cedar-stained Pressure Treated lumber, the wood was cut and drilled at home and then taken to Switzer Elementary playground for assembly by DeSaele and 21 fellow scouts, adult leaders and Switzer alumni.

The pits are now a permanent part of the Switzer playground, the first new addition in about 15 years. 

“I hope that these Ga-Ga ball pits will provide entertainment for all the students at Switzer and the people who visit there,” DeSaele said. 

In addition to Scouts, DeSaele is a member of the US FIRST Robotics team ThunderChickens. He served as the head of the mechanical department this year, and was on the team when they won the World Championship in 2019. 

DeSaele is graduating this year as, of course, an Eagle from Eisenhower. 

Roger is the second member of the DeSaele family to make a permanent contribution to Switzer community. His older brother, Paul, built benches near the front entrance for his Eagle Scout project. 

"It is awesome to watch our students grow into contributing members of our community," Palmer said. "We are very fortunate to be on the receiving end of the DeSaele's generosity and talents."