By Stefanie Sears
William Schwartz of Florham Park, a senior at Newark Academy from Florham Park, is a well-rounded young man.
For athletics, Schwartz plays varsity football and baseball and is captain of the wrestling team. For artistic pastimes, he strums the guitar for the school’s jazz band. For additional activities, he serves as the school’s Young Republicans club vice president and fishes for his newly formed fishing team. For spirituality, he reads and ushers for Assumption Church in Morristown.
What else could he possibly do? Well, he could accomplish as much as a 12 year Eagle Scout and achieve Troop 34’s highest rank on Sun., Feb. 5, for which Mayor Mark Taylor himself honored him with a plaque on Thur., Feb. 16 during a Borough Council meeting.
“That was awesome,” says Schwartz, “Mayor Taylor is a great guy. I really appreciate that he took out that time to come.”
Schwartz began Cub Scouts when he was about six years old in first grade and was in Boy Scouts since the fifth grade and finally joined Troop 34 a year later. His Eagle Scout Service Project success was producing and installing benches and a kiosk to promote sustainable fishing at Kitchell Pond in Loantaka Park.
In fact, Schwartz says that fishing is his most memorable of his general ventures. Schwartz has been fishing since age two and now this past summer he and a friend competed and came out on top in the first ever New Jersey B.A.S.S. Nation High School Championship, which was just initiated this past summer as well.
“My friend and I, Matteo, who also is a senior at Newark Academy, founded the Newark Academy Bass Fishing Team this past summer and took home the state championship, so that was a really cool moment for us, for something we have been doing for a very long time, wondering if we are actually good at it, and then working hard and putting together a great season and coming out with a victory,” he said. “That was one of the coolest moments I’ve had in 18 years. That was actually really cool, being the first champs in Jersey history. We have been fishing for a while and wanted to do some buddy stuff, so when the high school thing rolled around, it was the perfect opportunity.”
Throughout his experiences, he states that the outdoor activities are his favorites, specifically the summer High Adventure program.
“We go to the back country and do over 50 miles of canoeing or hiking and I’ve been lucky enough to do that three times,” he says. “Those have definitely been some of my best memories of scouting.”
However, completing Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico is usually every scout’s biggest accomplishment, according to Schwartz.
“We did one of the more strenuous tracks,” he says. “It was 102 miles over ten days. Finishing that trip was just, it was a good time and finishing it was a pretty amazing moment. Looking back, driving like one hour across the New Mexico wilderness back to base camp being like, ‘Wow. We walked all that.’ and that stuff. It was pretty impressive.”
Although he no longer is a Boy Scout due to his age, being 18, he will be taking a break from the program but hopes to return as an adult member in the future.
“It’s funny that I actually ended up at this point because I never actually joined scouting with the intent of becoming an Eagle,” he said. “I was always only in it to enjoy the experiences and make the most of the weekend trips and summer camp and those kind of memories that we had. As far as actually achieving Eagle, the biggest advice I would say is, get going on everything early. One of the biggest challenges was that when I realized that I actually had a shot at Eagle, it was my sophomore and junior year and I was scrambling to do a lot of scout work when I was really busy with other stuff. The biggest thing that I can tell the younger guys, and I do tell the younger guys, is ‘You got to get moving before I did. Start late middle school and freshman year.’”
Schwartz plans on attending University of Michigan in September, where he hopes to major in business for economics and sports management.