* Name: Jacob Wirz.
* Age: 16.
* School: Rising senior at Baylor School.
* Siblings: Sister, Madie, 14.
CLAIM TO FAME
Jacob Wirz became an Eagle Scout on July 7, 2010. In his troop, he has served as senior patrol leader, the highest rank attainable, and was elected to be in the Scouts' Order of the Arrow national honor society, in which he now serves as lodge vice chief. He is in Baylor School's Model United Nations, will be editor-in-chief of the school yearbook and will continue serving on the school honor council.
What does Jacob Wirz, 16, share in common with Neil Armstrong, Gerald Ford, Michael Moore and L. Ron Hubbard?
On July 7, 2010, the Baylor School rising senior joined these men in sharing the rank of Eagle Scout.
Jacob has been a member of the Boy Scouts of America since he was in second grade and joined a Cub Scout pack led by his mother, Tracey Wirz.
By the time he graduated to the Boy Scouts in sixth grade, Jacob had earned "tons of badges," including the Arrow of Light, the highest award a Cub Scout can receive.
Entering the Boy Scouts meant starting over on a new path with new requirements, but even though many of his friends dropped out, Jacob said he never lost sight of becoming an Eagle Scout.
"It was something I had been working on for so long that it was a proud moment to get it," he said. "As soon as I joined Boy Scouts, I knew that was the ultimate goal: to get Eagle. That was something I looked forward to and worked for."
According to Boy Scouts of America, only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2011, and their average age was 17. When he completed the requirements to be recognized as an Eagle, Jacob was only 14.
Reaching the rank of Eagle is a multi- year process that includes carrying out a community-service project, attending a Scoutmaster conference, serving six months in a leadership role within a troop and completing the requirements for 21 merit badges.
For his community-service project, Jacob and volunteers he recruited spent 190 collective hours over about six months digging a drain and building steps for a picnic area at Cravens House in Point Park on Lookout Mountain. He also exceeded the rank's badge minimum, completing 28 badges instead of the required 21.
Unlike many Eagle Scouts, who see the rank as an end to Scouting, Jacob has remained active in the organization. Troop 216, which he was a part of from 2006 to 2010, disbanded, but Jacob shifted membership to Troop 224.
His new troop elected him to represent them in the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts' national honor society, which recognizes Scouts "who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives," according to the Order's website. He serves as lodge vice chair in the Order.
"It's just sort of fun for me to go out and give back in a leadership role ... to my fellow troop members," Jacob said.
Jacob also is involved in numerous activities at school. He serves as photographer for the school paper, is the orchestra's piano accompanist, is a participant in Model United Nations and Student Congress and will serve as editor-in-chief of the school yearbook this fall.
Jacob also takes part in outreach services, including Baylor's peer-support network, peer tutoring and writing center, and is a representative on the Baylor School Honor Council, a peer-review jury for student infractions.
His father, Derek Wirz, said Jacob has never shied away from the chance to prove himself and help others.
"Jake has been so responsive to the best. Whatever opportunities have come to him, he's seized," Wirz said.
Jacob said the Scouts have helped to shape who he is as much as anything else he has done.
"Without the Scouts, I wouldn't have learned all the stuff they teach about leadership and all the stuff I've learned from the badges," he said. "Without that knowledge, I would just be different."
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...