Boy innovates to achieve big, fat Eagle Scout rank

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When a boy from a big, close-knit Greek family decides to tackle a big Greek project, you can bet he has lots of tasteful help, and that the community will benefit.

Last year, Peter Davin, 16, a Thomas Jefferson High School sophomore honor student and member of Boy Scout Troop 1843, decided to earn his Eagle Scout status by raising money for what he envisioned as the natural outgrowth of his passion for all things Greek: a new mythology and folklore center in the library of Pleasant Hills Middle School.

He rented the Grand Theatre in Elizabeth Borough in July to run the iconic film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and sold tickets at $4 each to 150 friends and family members.

The audience gathered before the movie at his parents' Jefferson Hills home, where Peter and Joan Davin provided appropriate food, dancing and music.

Next, Peter coordinated a sale of baklava. More than 130 dozen of the flakey delicacies were made at his grandfather's bakery, then sold for $10 a dozen.

Peter's grandfather, John Croussouloudis, owns The Keystone Bakery in Monessen.

"I tell him, 'Do you see what you can do when you stick with your goals?' " Mrs. Davin said.

Peter is scheduled to appear today before the Eagle Scout Board of Review of the Steel City District of the Greater Pittsburgh Council, which will decide if he has met all the requirements for Scouting's highest ranking.

His interest in mythology began as a boy, when he poured over mythology books at home. In December, he began discussing his idea for a project at the school with his mother, middle school Principal Suzan Petersen and the school librarian, Mary McTigue-Ditoro.

He got permission for the project from West Jefferson Hills Superintendent John Lozosky.

"I wanted to do something that would benefit the community," Peter said.

As it is, Peter is a member of the Latin club, the high school band and Presentation of Christ Greek Orthodox Church in East Pittsburgh, where he sings in the choir.

Peter has autism, so verbal communication, fine motor skills and written and spatial organization are sometimes difficult for him, his mother said.

Mrs. Davin compiled his ideas in an outline as he dictated them. Then his brother, Alex, 13, who is also a Scout, served as audio-visual technician for the slides, which Peter made to present the plan to Scout officials.

The new center, tucked into the corner of the school library, has more than 100 items, including books, artifacts, paintings, figurines and videos on the subject of Greek and other mythologies. All were selected and bought by Peter from the approximately $2,060 he collected for the project.

Ms. Petersen said mythology's use of superheroes to explore complex issues was a perfect lesson for middle school pupils.

"It's an excellent project," agreed Scout leader Kurt Miller, of Jefferson Hills.

"A lot of Eagle projects typically involve building something outdoors, but I liked his in that it was different," Mr. Miller said.

Only about three percent of all Scouts attain the rank of Eagle, Mr. Miller said.

To donate to the center, send a check to Pleasant Hills Middle School Library, 404 Old Clairton Road, Pleasant Hills PA 15236, or call 412-655-8680.


Margaret Smykla is a freelance writer.


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