John Robert Schunder III earned the highest honor in Boy Scouts, the Eagle Scout award.
The 16-year-old is the son of Stephanie Schunder of Midlothian, Va., who is a 1987 Kempsville High School graduate. His grandparents, Shirley and Bob Lewis, live in the Haven Heights section of Kempsville.
John’s project was titled “Helping the Homeless, One Table at a Time.”
He partnered with CARITAS, Congregations Around Richmond To Assure Shelter. The nonprofit organization helps shelter the homeless, offers a jobs program, furniture bank, and provides addiction recovery services.
“Since I was a boy, my mother raised me with the understanding that ‘paying it forward’ was what mattered in life,” he said. They’d volunteer together on service projects to make “people’s lives a little brighter,” he said.
He organized a team and built three wooden kitchen tables for CARITAS. Each will be given to someone helped by the organization when the time comes to move into a starter home.
John joined Cub Scout Pack 2831 in 2008, and was a member of Boy Scout troop 2860. He is an honor roll 10th-grade student at Midlothian High School, and a member of the school’s cross country and track teams.
He also is involved with the youth group ministry Young Life and volunteers as a food service coordinator for a program at his local public library. Growing up, he spent many summers with his grandparents, and is a member of the Kempsville Recreation Center.
He plans to attend college, earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and eventually work in computer programming, web design, or the cyber security industry. Being a Scout has impacted his life, he said. He has learned new skills, been involved in the community, and mentored others.
“Scouting means holding yourself to a higher standard and putting others first,” he said. “It also means strength and determination to overcome and achieve anything you set your mind to in life.”
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The Landstown Middle School cheer team placed first at the 2017 citywide middle school league Cheerfest competition.