If you’ve been to Pal-Mac High School recently, you may have seen a new addition to the front bus loop. Well, make it six new additions.
Lining the loop are six red and white hand-painted wooden benches, a product of a project taken on by senior Robert Kinsman.
Kinsman built the benches as part of a community service requirement on his quest to become an Eagle Scout, the highest honor within the Boy Scouts. Scouting runs deep in the Kinsman family as Robert said both his father and brother were Eagle Scouts.
But at its core, Kinsman said the project was more than just about a family tradition.
“I chose to do this project because I wanted to help out my community,” Kinsman said.
Kinsman says he reached out to both Superintendent Dr. Robert Ike and high school principal Andrew Wahl to find out just how he could give back to the community, and he was told the school had been eyeing new benches in the loop for some time.
Kinsman said after the district's final approval and some sign offs from his fellow scouts, the plan was set. The benches were going to be built, but there was still the matter of buying all the needed materials and of course, putting everything together.
“It was talking to Lowe’s [Hardware store], it was talking to other people who could fundraise money so I could afford all these,” Kinsman said. “And then after that, I had to get people to actually help me start the benches.”
Enter the community.
Kinsman said he and his father built the benches at a work space carved out for them at home, but they weren’t alone. He believes at least 50 people had a hand in the project, between building the benches and donations.
He said the whole process took about two months and cost about $700.
The benches were installed the first week back from break to start the spring semester. Kinsman was joined by both his parents, as well as Principal Wahl.
“One thing I learned is that time management is a real, real big help throughout projects,” Kinsman said. “But I also learned that if you’re in a good community that will help you, then you will get further than you ever could if you were by yourself. I don’t think this would’ve been possible without the help of everybody else.
Robert said in just a couple of weeks, he’s heard students are already getting some use out of the benches.
He’s not the only one who has taken notice, as Principal Wahl had this to say:
"We are proud of Robert's journey to earn the designation of Eagle Scout. He has worked tirelessly to plan and organize a worthwhile project that will serve the needs of our students and the entire school community. I have witnessed Robert extend out of his comfort zone to fundraise and enlist the help of others to build, paint, to realize his goal. The benches are a welcome addition to our bus loop and provide an opportunity for students to wait comfortably at dismissal time. They are not only functional but beautify the front of our building and the logo adds to our Red Raider pride. We celebrate his success as a model for other students at Pal-Mac High School."
Dr. Ike added
“I am proud of Robert’s commitment to community outreach and service. His efforts are exactly what being a Pal-Mac Red Raider is all about. The benches are a welcomed addition to our high school. I encourage all to take time to reflect on how they can lend a helping hand to our school and surrounding community .”
Pal-Mac Gives Back - Robert's Story