On Eagle's wings: Local student's Scout project aims to build classroom for Honduran school
Jan. 10, 2019
WIXOM — One of the main goals of the Archdiocese of Detroit's efforts to "unleash the Gospel" is for families to embrace their role as the domestic Church, and “actively seek the spiritual and social renewal of their neighborhoods, schools, places of work.”
One such family has created that environment, and now their son is reaching out to the world. Michael Nowicki, who resides in Wixom, has undertaken an Eagle Scout project overseeing and building a classroom for underprivileged children in a remote city in Honduras.
The initiative began when Michael and his father, Dean Nowicki, entered into a conversation with a neighbor who happens to work with World Gospel Mission, the organization responsible for sustaining the Honduran school near Catacamas, a city in east-central Honduras.
So impressed was the Nowicki family at what the school did for the local children, that Michael, a sophomore at Orchard Lake St. Mary's Preparatory, put together a plan to diagram and construct an outdoor classroom as part of a project to complete his Eagle Scout badge.
The job is scheduled to take place between June 8-20, 2019, when Michael and his father, along with assistant Scoutmaster Mark Philibaum, will travel to Honduras. Jeff Smith, the Nowickis' neighbor and a construction engineer who mentored Michael in developing the design and construction plans, will also travel to assist him.
The El Sembrador Boarding School, where Michael will work, is a Christ-centered school (Christian, not Catholic) that educates 125 students, 86 of whom live on campus as residents. It was founded in 1954 and educates boys and girls from kindergarten through 12th grade. The school prides itself in “educating tomorrow’s Honduran leaders and providing critical skills to children” in one of the world’s poorest nations.
While there, Michael will lead teams comprised of El Sembrador students and local Honduran Scouts to complete the project, which will consist of a concrete instruction area, approximately eight movable benches, a movable marker board and possibly a podium.
“Given problems with heat, it is often helpful to teach outdoors,” Dean Nowicki said. “Soggy lawns require a concrete floor, termite problems will factor into material choices for the benches, and the movable board is needed due to potential damage from winds during the storm season.”
Michael describes the journey to attain his Eagle Scout badge — which is attained by about 4 percent of Scouts — as challenging, but fun.
He’s also an altar server and lector, both at Orchard Lake St. Mary's and at his home parish of St. Fabian in Farmington Hills.
Michael and his father both realize the magnitude of such an honor, but more importantly, the magnitude of the lives they’ll change through Michael’s initiative. Dean states he’s always encouraged Michael to stay active, and service-minded. Michael has been a Scout since 2009, and is currently a Life Scout with Troop 179. During his time as a Scout, he’s had many opportunities to serve, living out the mission of Unleash the Gospel.
“It begins at home,” Dean Nowicki says, stressing the importance of his family’s faith lives and “claiming Sundays” as a family in a culture that often disregards those values. This is what has led to Michael’s drive, and his determination to help these Honduran children, many of whom are so impoverished they can’t even afford shoes.
As one might imagine, Michael’s trip will be costly – about $10,000. His hope is to find ways to defray those costs, and he's submitted business plans to a few local companies in an effort to receive help. Recently, he submitted a professional-grade business plan to a few local companies to elicit help in doing that. His hope is that people will see the good he’s trying to do; in fact, his desire to “spread the good news” to those who may need it most.
If you would like to learn more about the El Sembrador Boarding School, or you know of someone who could help fund this journey, please see the links below:
https://www.wgm.org/campaign/4795/mike-nowicki-eagle-project (to donate)
https://nmc.church/blog/this-is-el-sembrador/ (World Gospel Mission)
http://www.el-sembrador.org/ (Website for the school)