Local student transforms outside classroom and earns Eagle Scout rank.

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 15, 2023

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Local Greenville High School junior, Mason Godwin, transforms Greenville Elementary School’s abandoned outside classroom into a functioning space for students and teachers’ enjoyment. This year-long project will earn Godwin the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scout Troop 520 upon completion. 

“The problem with the outside classroom was that there was nowhere for the kids to work,” Godwin said. “Originally I was just going to put new benches out there, but then it all kind of escalated.”

Godwin began the project by cleaning up the classroom area, and speaking with Mayor McClendon about a drainage issue which was fixed by the city. His parents donated gutters to help divert water, he pressure washed the building and concrete and plans on finding a volunteer to replace the roof and repaint the sign. Godwin had meetings with the elementary school principal and superintendent, as well as rallied volunteers to help him insert the new desks and help bring this project to life that was funded by the Parent Teacher Association.

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“I ordered brand new benches that are foldable so you can flip them up to hold books and read, and flip them down to create a desktop to work on,” Godwin said. “They can fit about three to four children. We lined the classroom with the old benches that I plan to paint. After speaking with the Greenville Garden Club, they will be donating camellia trees that can grow six to eight feet tall to help block the kids from the road.”

Greg Kendrick, Godwin’s project coach, said this is a great project for future students to enjoy. 

“The outside classroom is an iconic piece of history for the school,” Kendrick said. “This project is a great way for Mason to give back to the community by leading these efforts that future students will be able to enjoy.”

Godwin is a part of the Boy Scout Troop 520 and has been since the second grade when he moved here from Florida. Godwin explained the Eagle Scout project required him to plan and record all of the steps and projected details that would be necessary and sent it to the council in Montgomery to have it approved. Godwin said he learned a lot going through this process, and this will add to the many future benefits of achieving Eagle Scout. 

“This process of learning how to plan and prepare all of the steps necessary for a project will benefit me in the future,” Godwin said. “When you become an Eagle Scout it’s a big ordeal as it takes a lot of time to achieve this rank. It shows you have dedication and the ability to see things through and finish what you have started. It also shows you have achieved the scout law of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

Godwin said the boy scout Troop 520 will be closing and that he will be the last Eagle Scout from Greenville. He explained there are no other boy scouts who stayed to achieve the higher ranks required and keep the troop alive. Godwin said he feels very sad to see the troop die out. 

Mike Ernest, the assistant scoutmaster, said he has known Godwin for close to eight years. 

“He’s a very good scout,” Ernest said. “He is very accomplished and will grow to be a good leader one day.”

Godwin said he had a lot of aid in fulfilling this project, including Nancy Idland who originally gave him the idea, and that he is very grateful for their help. 

“I would like to thank my Mom for pushing me to continue, I would not be this far along in the project without her,” Godwin said. “I also want to thank my fellow scouts for sticking by me even when I was not the easiest to be around. To anyone with an idea in mind, I say always go for it and continue to strive to be the best person you can even when life gets hard. Don’t ever try to do anything on your own, you most likely won’t be able to achieve it without asking for help.”