BY Kate Bunster
REXFORD — When Christopher Stroud started thinking about his eagle scout project, Glencliff Elementary was the first location he thought of to give back to.
Stroud, now a senior at Niskayuna High, had walked the halls of Glencliff as a student nine years ago. After meeting with principal Dr. Shelley Baldwin-Nye back in April, the two came up with the perfect idea that fuses his love for the outdoors and the school’s education goals: an outdoor classroom.
Stroud (Troop 3036), began the project in April and after 10 hours of planning and 100 hours of building, the project is finally complete. This was all done in the midst of serving as the historian for his class student council, playing the french horn in the school band, varsity soccer and keeping his grades up. Luckily, with a little help from his friends, he was able to make it all work.
“My friends couldn’t wait to help me out with it,” said Stroud. He also got assistance from his uncle, who helped him dig holes to install the benches, and Dick Flanders, a member of the Alplaus United Methodist Church, who was involved with the design. The classroom is located on one of Glencliff’s forest trails, just northeast through the school’s fields. At the trail entrance is a wood arrow that reads “outdoor classroom,” which points learners in the direction of the six wooden benches, teacher’s podium and chalkboard (which is secured by a lock when class is not in session).Stroud, who lives with his parents, David and Tamara Stroud, and his brother Matthew, started out as a Cub Scout in first grade. For him, his time in Boy Scouts has flown by, which he attributes to the positive values and friendships that he made throughout the years. “Being a Boy Scout has taught me how to be a leader among my community and to be a good person,” he said. The highest ranking in Boy Scouts is eagle scout, which is awarded after the boy turns 18 has completed a required service project of 50 hours prior to his 18th birthday. Stroud will turn 18 in December. The community has responded strongly to the project so far, which has brought Stroud much satisfaction. He has been told that his fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Montrello has been utilizing the classroom often since it was completed. “It makes me so happy to see that something I worked so hard on is being put to use,” he said. “Now I know that there will always be a little part of me at the school.”