REDONDO BEACH — Boy Scout Troop 378, chartered out of Redondo Beach, welcomed four new Eagle Scouts at a ceremony at St. John Fisher Catholic Church on May 17. Troop 378 is proud to recognize the following four outstanding young men:
• Evan Cooper, 18, is a freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he is studying computer science. He earned his Eagle Scout rank on Dec. 20, 2013. His family includes his parents, Victor and Ann Cooper of Torrance, and his sister, Stephanie Cooper of Hermosa Beach. Evan has been in Boy Scouts since 2001, beginning with Tiger Cub Scouts. He joined Troop 378 in 2006, and has served as assistant senior patrol leader, historian, round table representative, librarian and patrol leader. During his scouting years, Evan earned 29 merit badges.
For his Eagle project, Evan planned and managed the construction of outdoor furniture for Christ Episcopal Church in Redondo Beach. The outdoor furniture was designed to transform a new patio area at the church into a welcoming, comfortable place for church members and visitors of all ages. Two full sets of furniture were constructed, both of which included a bench, chair and table. Evan thanks all of the scouts, leaders and friends who helped him in completing his project.
Evan’s other interests include music, athletics and writing software code. Musically, he was an alto saxophonist in the South High Marching Band and the South High Jazz Band, and he is currently a member of the Cal Poly Marching Band, the “Pride of the Pacific.” Evan also plays the guitar, keyboard and drums and has toured and performed with a number of rock bands, one of which is signed to a record label.
Athletically, Evan was a member of the South High swim team and has participated in organized soccer and baseball. Academically, he was awarded the South High School Band Booster Scholarship in 2013, and was also an AP Scholar with Distinction. He invented a technique for accelerating plant germination and growth and was issued U.S. Patent Number 7,823,327 for that invention. At Cal Poly, he is currently active in on-campus clubs directed to computers and software coding.
• Wesley Yoshio Kitagawa, 17, is a senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. He earned his Eagle Scout on Jan. 30, 2014. His proud parents are David and Kathleen Kitagawa of Rancho Palos Verdes. Wesley has been an active member of Boy Scouting since 2007. His leadership positions have included being the senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, a troop guide for two terms, patrol leader, assistant patrol leader, and den chief for four years. Along the way, he has earned 57 merit badges and numerous scouting awards.
Wesley’s Eagle project was completed at Gardena Buddhist Church and consisted of designing and constructing a new “Whiffle Ball Toss” game fixture for the church to use during its fundraising events. He also refurbished six outdoor wood benches with all new stained redwood slats and stainless steel hardware. He was able to fund his project through generous donations from local businesses, private donors, and the church. Over 60 scouts, adult volunteers, and friends put in over 440 hours to help complete the projects. Wesley is very grateful for everyone who contributed their time and energy to make his project a great success.
Besides scouting, Wesley enjoys sports. He is a defenseman on the varsity lacrosse team at PVPHS, is a member of the Yonsei 17 Basketball cultural exchange team, and enjoys playing basketball with the FOR Rockets II. He is also a member of the Palos Verdes Assembly, vice president of Gardena Buddhist Church’s Jr. YBA, and a volunteer at various summer camps as a youth counselor, which helped him earn the Bronze and Gold Presidential Volunteer Awards. Wesley is a humble recipient of CBO, FOR, and JACL 2014 scholarship awards. He will attend Drexel University in the fall and major in mechanical engineering.
• Keith Takuo Nishihara, 17, is a junior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. He has been active in Troop 378 since 2008 and earned his Eagle Scout on Dec. 20, 2013. Keith has held various leadership positions within the troop and earned 28 merit badges. He resides in Rancho Palos Verdes with his parents, Curtis and Shari Nishihara, and his sister, Kelcey.
In addition to scouting, he is involved in Los Hermanos, Hope Club, Faith United Methodist Church Youth Leadership Council, Hope Builders of Alabama, and Pediatric Therapy Network’s Camp Escapades. He has supported the Japanese American community with his involvement in the Kizuna Leadership Program, the Yonsei 18 Basketball Cultural Exchange Program, and the OCBC Chibiko Basketball Clinic.
Keith is a member of the National Honor Society, the California Scholarship Federation, and the Technology Student Association. He is on the cross country and track teams at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, and enjoys playing basketball with the OCBC Hornets and Yonsei 18 teams.
His interest in environmental science influenced his decision to select a project that supported the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy. The project involved the restoration of the North Spur Trail, an overgrown and unidentified recreational trail in Rancho Palos Verdes. A tremendous amount of overgrowth was removed, the trail boundaries were redefined, steeper inclines were graded, permanent signage was installed, and 100 native plants were planted. More than 75 people came and worked 288 hours to help complete the project. The work was physically demanding, and Keith is indebted and thankful to all those who helped him to execute his plan and provide an outdoor resource for the community.
• Matthew Kem Young, 18, is a senior at Torrance High School. He has been active in Troop 378 since 2008 and earned his Eagle Scout rank on Nov. 20, 2012. He will matriculate in the fall at UC San Diego, majoring in economics.
In addition to scouting, Matthew is a member of the National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, and the Tartar Knights service club. He played varsity basketball and volleyball at Torrance High School. Matthew is currently employed as basketball referee for the SBYB Fall League and works part-time as a host/server for The Loft Hawaiian restaurant. He was a member of the Yonsei 17 Basketball Cultural Exchange Program that played in the northern city of Sakata and toured Hiroshima and Sendai.
The beneficiary of Matthew’s Eagle project was the Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN), a non-profit organization that provides speech and physical therapy to disabled children. His project involved the design and construction of a cubby wall for the children to store their personal items and a chalkboard surface on the back side of the cubby wall that provides a usable therapy space; painting one of the therapy rooms that had not been painted for nearly 10 years; constructing scooter boards and orthopedic blocks used for therapy; and cleaning therapy equipment. His project involved more than 50 adults and youths providing over 390 volunteer hours. Matthew funded his project through his earnings as a basketball referee.