Miguel Bustos Bismonte, 17, a senior at Saratoga High School, has earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank obtainable in the Boy Scouts of America.
The award often takes 12- to 17-year-old boys four to five years of persistent disciplines, efforts and accomplishments to obtain.
As part of Saratoga's Troop 566, Miguel planned the renovation of two large concrete planter boxes attached to the parish school of the Church of the Resurrection in Sunnyvale.
The project was somewhat complicated since the concrete planters had previously leaked water causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the school, said proud dad Alfredo Bismonte.
The planters were left barren of plants for seven years, but eventually Ian Abell, director of facilities for the San Jose Catholic Diocese, approved the project and Miguel donated 300 hours of service.
Miguel had to learn how to use a jackhammer, mix and pour concrete and fully waterproof the planters. He also had to learn how to install a drip irrigation system. The entire project cost about $1,000, which Miguel's family donated to the church.
He also earned 26 merit badges—at least 21 are required to become an Eagle—and since 2006 has had many leadership positions in Troop 566. He also received the Den Chief Award.
Saratoga Mayor Chuck Page issued a commendation thanking Miguel for his Boy Scout accomplishments and community service.
At Saratoga High School he is a baritone in the advanced chamber choir and toured and sang in Italy.
This fall, along with his 14-year-old sister Camille, he auditioned for and participated in the Northern California Regional Honor Choir.
"Miguel is quite outgoing and loves public speaking and making presentations. He loves to teach others and became a trainer at his high school’s speech and debate club," said dad Alfredo Bismonte.
Miguel has also studied piano for more than 10 years and enjoys writing and performing his own songs. He sings at the Church of the Resurrection every week. This year he was part of a quartet of friends who sang at the tree lighting ceremony at downtown Saratoga.
He also has not forgotten his roots and understands and speaks Tagalog (Filipino) and was a Philippine folk dancer at a school performance.