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From the start, Shortridge student has been a leader in Scouts

From the first time he went on a hike as a Cub Scout, Xavier Ntamere has been immersed in the Scouting life.

Ntamere, who holds dual membership in Troop 534, (Chicago) and Troop 199 (Indianapolis), has excelled in the Boy Scouts. He’s earned about 80 merit badges and held numerous leadership positions.

In 2019, his leadership skills were used to the fullest when his Boy Scout troop was meeting in a church that caught fire. Ntamere exhibited heroic actions in helping to evacuate the troop and families present, and his actions led to local and national recognition through a Certificate and Medal of Merit.

Now, he’s earned the organization’s highest honor — Eagle Scout.

“To me, being a Scout means being a leader in your community,” Ntamere said. “We learn how to communicate effectively, advocate for ourselves and others, and be role models for those around us.”

He also believes that Scouting teaches many life lessons, which can be used to help individuals achieve any of their dreams, goals and aspirations.

Ntamere, who will be a senior at Shortridge High School in the fall, is one of only 4% of members since 1911 who have earned the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America.

“I have been able to find like-minded individuals through Scouting who inspire me to achieve my goals,” Ntamere said. “For example, I have had the privilege of being a member of two historically African American Boy Scout troops where I received access to skills and resources, mentorship, and a community of people that care.”

His mother, Ebony C. Barney, admits she wanted her son to seek out every opportunity.

 “I would encourage him to try new things, don’t be afraid to try an activity and fail or a sport that nobody else around you is doing,” said Barney, who graduated from Arsenal Tech High School in 2003. “Eventually he would be asked to narrow his focus to the things he enjoyed the most.  What was left included swimming, playing the trumpet, and Scouts.”

Ntamere’s Eagle Scout project is a 40-foot bridge over a creek at Jameson Camp. The Camp provides support to underserved youth in Indianapolis. He logged 766 hours of unpaid service hours, raised thousands of dollars, and successfully executed project management that included supervising 80 volunteers.

In addition to the bridge serving as a connection for two areas of the camp, it will also create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors uneasy about their upcoming adventure. 

“I was challenged to demonstrate community service and leadership and have confirmed my ideal career path — civil engineering,” Ntamere said. “The project allowed me to develop some of the skills I will need in that role.”

The bridge will be officially unveiled Aug. 14 at 1 p.m. during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.