By Peter Elacqua
MARLBORO – Joseph Sullivan of Marlboro has overcome challenges in his life to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
Sullivan, 22, was born with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.
Sullivan, who is the son of James and Linda Sullivan, was honored by his troop, Marlboro Troop 86, on Jan. 9 at the Morganville United Methodist Church. He is the 86th member of the troop to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
Typically, young men who are pursuing the rank of Eagle Scout achieve that status by the age of 18. However, administrators at the Monmouth Council Boy Scouts of America granted Sullivan an unlimited amount of time to complete his requirements.
For his Eagle Scout project, Sullivan built an outdoor classroom at Collier High School in the Wickatunk section of Marlboro. Collier is a high school for students who have needs that cannot be met in public schools. Sullivan went to Collier High School. The outdoor classroom he created is comprised of four benches, a podium, and a weatherproof dry erase board.
At Collier High School, Sullivan was a student leader and took an interest in theater. He graduated from Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, with honors and an associate’s degree in theater. He is currently studying theater arts at Drew University, Madison.
“As a parent of a child with different needs … I could not be more happy or more proud of him for sticking with it and completing (his Eagle Scout requirements) and thinking of the kids at the school he went to,” Linda Sullivan said. “… I am so happy for him about all of this. I am extremely proud of him and his loyalty to Collier and the Boy Scouts, and his determination and civic-mindedness.”
Of earning his Eagle Scout rank, Sullivan said, “It was a long, difficult, but worthwhile journey and I encourage anybody else to go for it. It is an immense learning experience and it opens up numerous opportunities for the future.”
Collier High School Principal Ray Bock offered remarks during Sullivan’s Eagle Scout ceremony.
“Joe Sullivan was a tremendous student at Collier who took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to him,” Bock said. “I want to thank Joe for his commitment to pay back (the school) and thank him for the wonderful project, which will (provide) peace and tranquility, a unique learning experience and will be more important to our students and staff because it was completed by one of our own. My deepest thanks come from my ability to say I was Joe’s principal. It was an honor and a privilege.”