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Boy Scout Troop 129 of White Rock recently hosted two Eagle Courts of Honor for Jonah Katz and Aaron Bao.
The ceremony for Katz was at White Rock United Methodist Church on June 14 and for Bao at White Rock Baptist Church on July 6.
Jonah, son of Joel and Carolynn Katz, joined Boy Scout Troop 129 in 2006 and advanced persistently through the ranks, standing for his Eagle Board of Review in December, 2012. Even before he joined, Jonah did outings with the troop, trekking along with his brothers on a 12-mile pack trip near Creede, Colo.
Having climbed with the troop to the top of Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, Katz is a holder of the troop altitude record. He has earned the high-adventure triple crown through attendance at Philmont, Canoe Base and Sea Base.
Katz was elected by his peers to the Order of the Arrow, served his ordeal for induction, and has demonstrated scout leadership as a true arrow man. He was recognized as the 2011 Northern New Mexico District Outstanding Senior Patrol Leader.
This year, he received the Northern New Mexico District Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. The Veterans of Foreign Wars local chapter awarded him their Eagle Scout Scholarship this spring and the state VFW selected Katz — “head and shoulders” above the other nominees — for the statewide scholarship. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez presented this award, and the New Mexico VFW nominated him for the national award — one of 50 scouts.
Katz’s favorite backpack was the Wheeler Peak expedition where he did six miles on the wilderness ridgeline climbing five peaks between Wheeler Peak and the Taos Cone, including two 13ers. His favorite merit badge was wilderness survival. His Eagle project involved refurbishment of signs in Bandelier National Monument.
This fall, he will attend New Mexico Tech and study petroleum engineering.
Bao, son of Wei and Olivia Bao, also joined Troop 129 in 2006, advanced through the ranks and stood for his Eagle Board of Review in April 2013.
He has served the troop as the Senior Patrol Leader twice, as well as in other capacities.
Bao’s favorite merit badge was small boat sailing. His favorite backpack was last year’s Truchas Peak expedition, but he has also conquered the highest peak in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak. Having climbed with the troop to the top of Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, Aaron also is a holder of the troop altitude record.
To date, he has climbed nine of Colorado’s 14ers. He has attended all three BSA high-adventure camps: Sea Base, Canoe Base and Philmont; hence, he is a holder of the Triple Crown. He has been elected by his troop peers to Order of the Eagle, the scout society of honor campers.
Apart from scouting, Bao has run track and cross-country for five years. He is in that elite group of student athletes who has run a mile in under five minutes.
Like his colleague Katz, he is a student member of the Los Alamos Community Winds, a position that places them in the 99th percentile of Los Alamos High School students.
This fall, Bao will attend the University of Chicago and major in physics. He has distinguished himself by winning the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation Silver Scholarship, the Debra Beene Memorial Music Scholarship, the Aaron Goldman Memorial Scholarship for running, academics and community service, and the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Scholarship for outstanding promise in science and mathematics.
Bao is a National Merit Finalist and a represented the state of New Mexico with Los Alamos High School team in the Science Bowl.