It is an achievement that few accomplish, and John Barczynski now can add his name to the list. John, 17, a senior at North Allegheny Senior High School, has received the Hornaday Award from the Boy Scouts.
To be considered for the Hornaday, a scout has to complete the equivalent of four Eagle Scout projects. In John's case, he did all four of his projects at North Park.
The award is named after William T. Hornaday, an environmentalist in the early 1900s. The four projects must be of an environmental or conservation focus, in keeping with Hornaday's interests.
Only nine scouts in the country will receive the Hornaday for 2013 according to Susan Fitzbugh, assistant in the Outdoor Projects branch of the Boy Scouts.
Ms. Fitzbugh said, "The reviewer said that John's project documentation was one of the best efforts on the part of a Scout that he has reviewed during his tenure. He stated that his record keeping and lessons learned were excellent and he clearly provided leadership and opportunities for others to learn."
Prior to this year's awards, only 75 Silver Hornaday Awards have been achieved since it was created in 1975.
John had completed his projects and applied for the award late last spring. In the summer, he received a letter informing him he would know in October if he had met the requirements for the prestigious award.
"I became a little bit nervous as October passed and there was no word. Then on November 1st, lo and behold, I received a letter telling me I did it," John said.
John spent a great deal of time and money -- he estimates it took approximately 1,600 hours and $23,500 -- to complete the four projects.
"I was relieved and happy when I got the news -- my projects took a lot of time and a considerable amount of investment," he said.
John will receive his Hornaday Award later this year. He is a member of the Laurel Highlands Council, an area encompassing 11 counties in Western Pennsylvania. There are approximately 30,000 youths in scouting in this region.
John hopes to major in engineering and is still looking at colleges for his studies next year. John is the son of John and Lisa Barczynski of Franklin Park.