Going into his sophomore year of high school, Michael Brucia held himself to the highest standard in his academic goals. Selecting three AP and two Honors classes, Michael didn’t realize he may have bitten off more than he could chew.
Never having taken a Physics class or even the prerequisite Math classes, A.P. Physics B became its own monster, slowly swallowing Michael whole. “I didn’t understand the lectures, I couldn’t complete assignments in a timely manner, and my quiz and first test scores made it seem as though I had never studied,” explained Michael.
Inspired By the Scout Spirit
As his grades were plummeting, Michael knew he had two choices; run away from the challenge, admitting defeat— or use his inner resources, work hard and overcome.
Even though his chances of succeeding were slim, Michael said it was his Scout spirit that sparked the focus and determination that lead him to success. Remembering what he learned in Scouting, how to work hard to accomplish hard tasks, Michael went into full gear: he started taking more detailed notes—emphasizing concepts he didn’t understand and stayed after school most days in order to get extra help from his teacher.
“In pursuit of this guidance, I sacrificed my bus ride home, which in turn meant an 11-mile walk home,” said Michael. Many times Michael has been asked how he got through it and why he even did it, to begin with. “Didn’t the long walks make you realize you were doing more than you had to? Don’t you realize you’re the one making it harder on yourself?” people would ask.
Yes, Michael did know. He knew that at any moment he could have easily switched out of his many AP classes and could have done the bare minimum of what he had to do, but he also knew, in that case, he wouldn’t be giving his best efforts.
“I’m supposed to do my best, to do my duty to God and my country,” said Michael. “If I were to just do the bare minimum, then I’d be going against The Scout Oath.” Michael understood that all the responsibilities and work he was taking on would be daunting. “I wasn’t always sure if I was going to succeed at what it was I was doing, but I knew that whatever it was that I was going to do, I’d be giving my best.”
At the end of his sophomore year, not only did Michael understand Physics, but he was excelling— even to the point where he began to tutor other struggling students for free.
“I knew that what I went through wouldn’t have been so bad if I had had some help and, knowing this, I was determined to follow through with the Scout Oath by helping other people at all times,” said Michael.
Michael has taken what he has learned from this experience and has proactively determined that he will apply the same level of dedication and persistence to all that he will do from now on, making sure to keep his Scouting spirit alive.
“This experience has taught me that in order to fulfill my dreams and aspirations, it is going to take a lot of discipline and sacrifice,” reflected Michael, who says the “easy way” has completely ceased to be an option for him. “I am proud to say that the greatest reward I have received from this experience is a sense of respect for myself and an appreciation for the Scout spirit. I set those goals, dreamed those dreams, and overcame those obstacles,” commented Michael. “Through what Scouting has taught me, I believe that I will always find my way to success, so long as I possess the Scout Spirit, it will make my life better.”
Keeping the Scout Spirit Alive By Helping Others
Taking the Scout spirit to heart has not only helped Michael in his own personal endeavors, it has also helped him to look beyond himself and help others.
During his Senior year of high school Michael was told that he wouldn’t see much playing time on the Varsity football team, even though he had been on the football team all four years of high school.
“I could have just quit,” said Michael. “But, instead, I did whatever I could to help the team succeed.” Michael played scout team every day at practice and told the coach about new plays at JV games to look for in the Varsity games. Because of his extra and unusually helpful efforts to help the team, Michael was awarded the “110% Player of the Year” award.
“My coaches knew that, more than anything, I just wanted to help, and help I did— 100 percent of the time,” said Michael. He said that he also has the Scouting Spirit to thank for his other success, such as starting the Westlake High School Chinese club, earning the Thunder Scholar award (making the top 4% of his class), and much more.
With all that he has achieved, Michael says that he has learned from Scouting that not everyone has to perform a single task in order to help—rather, in order to help others, you ought to just do whatever it is that you are best at.
“I don’t know how it is that what I’m doing will end up bettering the general populous,” admitted Michael. “But, what I do know is that I’ll be doing my best, just as before.”
Michael’s plan after graduating from college is to move to Brooklyn, New York, one of the most poorly educated and poverty-stricken cities in the U.S. There, he hopes to better the community by spreading the lessons he has learned from Scouting and instill the Scout spirit in youth there who aren’t so different from him, who may be going through hard times.
“I plan to be a Scout leader, but wish to help in other ways too,” Michael shared. “In the end, my goal is to make it so that those who come after me might not have to let life’s trials and tribulations lead them down the wrong path. I’m not certain how I will help my community, but I know that I’ll be giving my best.”