DRACUT -- Alex Corcoran has very little free time.
What with maintaining his grades -- high honors -- and his involvement with the Dracut High School Performing Arts group and Boy Scout Troop 80, there is little time to just kick back and chill.
And he likes it that way.
"I like being busy," says the 15-year-old DHS freshman, who recently completed a landscaping project at his church that he hopes will earn him the prestigious Eagle Scout Award.
A statue of the Virgin Mary sits in a meadow at the base of a hill on the property of St. Francis Church on Wheeler Road. Some 10 years ago Mark Rocheleau, another Boy Scout trying to earn the Eagle Scout award, created a brick walkway leading up to the statue. He planted several shrubs around the statue and two granite benches were donated and installed.
Using that project as a jumping-off point, Alex enhanced the garden, adding about 40 different plants and about a dozen inspirational stones. He built a kneeler and an impressive pergola, leading to the walkway, which was extended by members of the church.
Rev. Brian Mahoney, pastor at St. Francis Church, was very pleased with the end result.
"Alex did an amazing job," Mahoney said. "He's created a beautiful prayer space and it has been the impetus for more work that we are planning to do there. We have been blessed to have Alex in our church."
Alex, the son of Bruce and Paula Corcoran of Dracut, is finishing up the required paperwork
Q: How long did the project take you, start to finish?
A: "From our very first planning meeting with my dad and my Boy Scout advisor, Maureen Goulet, to completion was 13 months. It was finished, totally, on May 5."
Q: How much help did you get from your Dad?
A: "Quite a lot, actually. For example, I don't know anything about plants and he likes plants so he picked them out. We were originally going to buy them all but I was running over budget so we started accepting donations of plants. My aunt bought some and so did other people."
Q: Where did you come up with the concept for the pergola?
A: "I found a bunch of designs and plans online. I picked out the one that I liked and I modified it a little bit. I think it fits in nicely with the statue and the walkway and everything else that's down here."
Q: How much of the actual building did you do?
A: "Well, in order to get to the level of Eagle Scout I'm not allowed to touch it. I'm supposed to lead everyone else because it's actually a leadership award. They say that the Eagle Scout award is not about the project, it's about leadership. But I like a good project."
Q: What made you choose this as your Eagle Scout project?
A: "This is my church and I wanted to give something back. I wanted to do this for my church. Even if there was no Eagle Scout award, I wanted to give people a nice quiet place to come and pray. I wanted it to be inspirational and uplifting. The place hadn't been touched in about 10 years. The bricks were starting to come up and there was grass growing between the bricks. It was kind of beat up."