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Student’s Scout work gets national attention

Most Boy Scouts are happy after earning the 21 merit badges needed to become an Eagle Scout. That just wasn’t enough for Shawn Goldsmith. 

During his senior year of high school, the freshman from Oceanside, N.Y., decided to complete all 121 merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts of America. His grandmother encouraged him to do it, and when she died last August, he knew he had to complete the 18 he had left.

“I wanted to do something in honor of my grandmother,” he said.

Once a boy turns 18, he is ineligible to earn merit badges, so Goldsmith only had until Nov. 28. But on Oct. 25, a month before his birthday, he earned his last badge: bugling.   

“It really made me a more well-rounded person,” he said. “It was a great experience all around.”

Goldsmith did not expect what came next. He was widely recognized for his accomplishments, and was featured on national media outlets, including Fox News, the CBS Early Show, NPR and the New York Daily News.

“Going on national TV was intimidating, but it gave me the opportunity to give respect to my grandparents,” he said. “After that it felt like it was all worth it.”

And during all this excitement, Goldsmith was just starting his college career in the School of Management. 

Goldsmith said the most important thing he’s learned from the Boy Scouts is public speaking, which was his favorite merit badge. It helped him during his many interviews, and continues to help him today.

“I was really pushed in front of the spotlight, but it was a valuable experience,” he said. “It’s made me more sociable. I’ve met a great group of diverse people here.”

Goldsmith still has three years at Binghamton, and plans to pursue business and politics after college. 

His favorite professor, Gerald Loy, is confident that Goldsmith can accomplish anything and everything he wants to.

“The ‘Be Prepared’ motto of the Boy Scouts really applies to Shawn,” Loy said. “He will get whatever he sets his goals on.”

Overall, Goldsmith is proud of his accomplishments, but mostly thankful for everything he has been given.

“A lot of people take things for granted,” he said. “I’m just happy to have gotten the opportunities I did.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08