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Alex Cole earns Eagle Scout rank with school beautification project

MADISON – To earn the Eagle rank in Boy Scouts, Alex Cole realized he needed to take one step at a time, one skill at a time.

Alex, 17, is a senior at James Clemens High School. “The Eagle project happened by recognizing an opportunity and just moving forward with planning,” he said.

Alex learned about a Huntsville elementary school that wanted landscaping help. He contacted the principal about clearing, cleaning and weeding at the school.

“This thought turned into way more. Doing work for a school does not leave a long-term impact on the community, required for an Eagle project,” he said. His solution was a butterfly garden.

“I learned about extinction of the monarch butterfly, worked with a master gardener and (visited local) nurseries (Indian Creek, Butterflies By Tina, Bentley’s and Huntsville Botanical Garden),” Alex said. The garden can serve as a teaching/learning laboratory while feeding butterflies before migration.

For fundraising, Alex wrote to relatives and friends. He worked with experts in the field and had several workdays to buy supplies, clean at the school’s entrance and plant an array of flowers to nurture the butterflies. Fellow Scouts also helped.

The school appreciated Alex’s efforts and the project that students can use in future years. He later expanded this project to earn the Hornaday Conservation Award.

To start his Scout journey, Alex joined Cub Scouts in second grade.

“My father worked at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, and we lived in Clarksville, Tenn. My father was deployed when I started Scouts. It was good to have positive role models especially because my father being away was hard on me and the family,” Alex said.

When Alex’s family moved to Madison, fellow scouts nominated 12-year-old Alex as Senior Patrol Leader. In this position, he assisted in planning activities and working with adult leaders for rank advancement of other Scouts.

“I (found) it very hard to be in charge of other Scouts … to get others to do what needed to be done while still having their respect as a friend,” Alex said. “Leading by example was the only way others will follow.”

At St. John the Baptist Catholic School, he has been a leader with Teen Life Youth. At James Clemens, he participated in Beta Club, National Honor Society and honor societies for math and science.

After graduating from James Clemens with honors, Alex plans to attend Auburn University to study engineering. He earned the Auburn Fearless and True Scholarship and a Boy Scout scholarship.

His parents are retired Col. David and Melanie Cole. David works as Medical Director for Huntsville Hospital’s Occupational Health Group. Melanie is a Licensed Professional Counselor or LPC and has worked as Professional School Counselor and Mental Health Provider locally.

Both David and Melanie have been active in adult leadership for Troop 204.

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