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#1 Yervant1


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Posted 22 May 2015 - 10:07 AM


San Jose Mercury News (California)
May 20, 2015 Wednesday

By Kristi Myllenbeck

A struggling school attended by children in a small village in Armenia
will receive some much-needed aid from a local Boy Scout.

Alex Suppiah, 12, has chosen to focus his Eagle Scout project on
helping to rebuild the school in an Armenian village called Akhpradzor.

Alex, a Los Altos resident who is in the seventh grade at Summit
Denali Middle School in Sunnyvale, is a member of Boy Scout troop 75.

His plan is to visit the tiny village of 400 people in July, but
he first needs to gather volunteers and raise $8,000 for materials,
supplies and textbooks for the school.

So far, Alex has raised approximately $4,000 in two months through
various fundraisers and with help from family and friends.

When asked why he chose this project, Alex replied, "I think it's
because this place really needs the things that they want. Here,
nowadays, people can pretty much get whatever they want, but over
there they're pretty isolated and can't get anything."

The village is snowed in six months out of the year, leaving the only
road that leads in and out of it shut down.

Seventy-five of the 400 people who live in the village are students
but the school lacks educational materials, play equipment and even
bathrooms. It does not have a functional library.

What Alex hopes to do if he raises enough money is build a wooden
outhouse, assemble a playground and rebuild an existing fence.

Through Summit Denali, Alex heard about a nonprofit organization
called Hidden Road Initiative, which according to its website aims
"to connect roads and bridge issues between the people of Armenia
and the rest of the world."

At the time, Alex was looking for an Eagle Scout project that satisfied
three specific goals: helping a community that needs things instead
of wants things, helping children and making a long-term impact.

"I never really expected to go to Armenia so I was just looking for
a project, and then I met the founder of this nonprofit called Hidden
Road Initiative," he said. "I decided that I would help this village
out. I felt that it was a good project for what I wanted to do."

At age 12, Alex is considerably younger than the average Eagle Scout
candidate. Brent Gregory, Alex's scoutmaster of two years, said that
Alex is not an average Boy Scout.

"From the day he started, Alex has been interested in gaining the
skills and experience to advance quickly," Gregory said. "On his first
day in the troop, he asked for permission to pursue five merit badges
while most scouts start on one or two after about a year."

So it makes sense that Alex's Eagle Scout project would go above and
beyond, too.

"Alex decided to tackle an Eagle Project that is more difficult than
most," Gregory said. "Alex is an exceptional young man, so I'm not
surprised to see him go after an exceptional project."

Alex has support from his family, but his mother, Leela Suppiah,
said he chose the project all on his own.

"I think it's incredible that Alex wants to do this," she said. "For
us, we would support him no matter what project he chose, but having
him select on his own is pretty cool."

To donate to Alex Suppiah's cause, visit hiddenroadinitiative.com or
fnd.us/c/0zUh9 .


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