By Cady Kuzmich
Clifton Park — Zachary Dahoda, a 16 year old Shenendehowa sophomore, has been involved in the Boy Scouts since he joined the Tiger Scouts at age six.
A decade and 41 badges later, he can now call himself an Eagle Scout. Dahoda became an Eagle Scout last September but had his official ceremony April 3. “It was the nicest Eagle Ceremony I’ve ever seen,” said Dahoda.
The Shenendehowa sophomore biggest priority is being an active member of his community — he’s logged over 200 service hours through his work with the scouts.
Dahoda completed his Eagle Scout project last June. His service project involved refurbishing the kitchen in the VFW Post 1498 — he painted the walls, installed new flooring, new cabinets, countertops and plumbing, as well.
“I had a lot of people there to help me,” he said. While the planning process took about two years, Dahoda said the actual construction phase lasted only three weeks.
The most challenging part of Dahoda’s day to day life is finding enough time to do everything he’d like to. “I work at McDonalds but I don’t have a lot of time to work there and save for college because I’m so busy,” he said. Between crew practice, school and the scouts, Dahoda said he can only work at McDonalds a few hours every other week.
If he had an extra hour in the day, Dahoda said he would “go home, relax or hang out with friends.” He enjoys lifting weights in his free time.
Dahoda’s mom works as a chef for the Daughters of Charity and his father works at the Watervliet Arsenal. He noted that his grandma has always been there for him since the days she would babysit him while his mom was working.
“My aunt Eileen, my godmother, she’s the person who helped me with scouts. She got me involved when I was a tigercub,” he added, speaking of the most influential people in his life.
He has been part of Shenendehowa’s crew team since he was in eighth grade. Dahoda has also been a member of the Shenendehowa United Methodist Church, singing in the choir and playing the bells, since he was four years old.
He was recently accepted into the Order of the Arrow, an honor society within the scouts. “You have to be chosen by the people in your troop,” he said. Dahoda described a scene where several scouts stood in a dark room in a circle for an hour waiting to be chosen.
While he won’t be able to vote in the 2016 presidential election, Dahoda is fully supportive of republican presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump. “He makes sense,” said the 16-year-old. “He’s trustworthy and reliable,” he added.
“Any of them would be better than Obama, besides Hillary,” said Dahoda. “I don’t get why people criticize him. Make Mexico pay for the wall — they should,” the scout added.
Dahoda has been to Mexico and wasn’t impressed. “Cozumel was OK but Costa Maya was terrible,” he said, referring to the bugs. He’s also been to the Caribbean. One place he’d love to visit is Australia.
While he still has plenty of time to mull over potential career options, Dahoda is fairly convinced he’d like to become a pharmacist. “Science and medicine have always interested me,” he said. Albany’s College of Pharmacy is his top choice at the moment.
Mr. Cronin, a biology teacher, and Ms. White, an English teacher, are a couple of Dahoda’s favorite teachers at Shenendehowa.
In 10 years, Dahoda would like to have graduated from college and have a good job working as a pharmacist. When asked whether he plans to stay in the Capital Region he said, “We’ll see how things go.”