Posted on 11/05/2015

Nicholas Anderson of Chelmsford, a junior at Nashoba Tech, stands on the patio he planned and built behind the school as part of his Eagle Scout project.

WESTFORD — Nicholas Anderson is studying Health Assisting at Nashoba Valley Technical High School. He eventually wants to be a paramedic or firefighter, maybe even a nurse on a MedFlight helicopter — “something to do with helping people.”
        So when it came time to find an appropriate project in hopes of earning the Eagle Scout distinction, Nick wasn’t exactly prepared for what he got himself into.
        One of the qualifications for earning Eagle — the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouts — is that the candidate must “plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for any religious organization, school or community.”
        Nick, a Chelmsford resident and member of Boy Scout Troop 74 in North Chelmsford, decided he wanted to help his school, so he asked administrators if there was a project they would like done. Having just spent about $3 million to totally renovate the school’s athletic complex, including its concession stand, school officials realized there was nowhere for visitors to enjoy a snack while attending a game.
        “We talked about the idea that we had built this beautiful concession stand and we have this lovely athletic complex, but there was no place for people to just sit and linger during a game and have a hot dog or hamburger or a piece of pizza,” Superintendent Dr. Judith L. Klimkiewicz said, adding that there was a small patch of unused land adjacent to the stand.
        “We all thought a patio was a good use of that area,” she said.
        So Eagle-eyed Nick, who attended both the Harrington Elementary and Parker Middle schools in Chelmsford before choosing to attend Nashoba Tech, picked up the gauntlet and agreed to build a patio.
        But first the land had to be leveled and brought up to the correct elevation. It only took 25 tons of crushed stone. Luckily for Nick, if there’s one thing the town of Westford has plenty of, it’s crushed stone. Nick got a hold of Westford Earth Materials on Power Road, and the company donated the stone and the pavers needed to get the job
        Nick also needed sand, fill, loam, grass seed, fertilizer, and on and on the list went. He secured all the ingredients needed, and he and his crew of family and friends set about building a beautiful patio that sits next to the concession stand. It took about a month, including nights and weekends.
        “It looks beautiful,” Dr. Klimkiewicz, commending Nick for the job he did.
        Vicki-Ann Poulin, who teaches Health Assisting at Nashoba Tech, noted that only about 7 percent of all Boy Scouts achieve the Eagle rank, and said she’s not surprised Nick is approaching that milestone.
        “Whenever I state that there is an opportunity for community-service hours or that I am hosting an event for the school, Nick is the first to volunteer,” Poulin said, noting that Nick attended the school’s recent open house on a Sunday and raised his hand for the upcoming craft fair hosted by the Friends of Nashoba.
        She said that when the students are visiting local nursing homes as part of their clinical training, “Nick is a favorite with the residents. He has a sense of pride in his work, which makes it rewarding to be his instructor. I believe many people will enjoy his
work on the NVTHS patio for years to come.”
        Nick — the son of Larry and Fran Anderson, who adopted him from Russia when he was a toddler — is also pleased with the final result. 
        “I think it came out pretty good,” he said. “I think they like it. It definitely wasn’t easy.”
        The heavy lifting wasn’t even the worst part of the project, he said. It first had to be approved by his Scoutmaster and then the District Council.
        “The paperwork was a really long process,” he admitted.
        But the patio is something he hopes he comes to back and see years after he graduates.
        “I think I’ll feel happy and proud that I was able to do something for my school,” he said.
        Nick, who has been involved in Scouting since he was a Cub Scout, still has some more work to do to earn Eagle Scout. He said he still has a few more merit badges to work on, but at 16, he has plenty of time — Scouts must earn the Eagle rank before they turn 18. He hopes to earn his Eagle before next summer.
        Nick said he’s grateful for the help and guidance of Westford Earth, Dr. Klimkiewicz, Nashoba Tech Facilities Manager Tim McDonald, Nashoba Tech’s school resource officer, Detective Joseph Eracleo, and his family and fellow Scouts who helped with the project.
        “It was a very big learning experience,” he said.