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School project lets Eagle Scout soar

Clemens senior builds gaga ball pit at his former elementary

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Kolby Holland (center), an Eagle Scout who constructed a gaga ball pit at Rose Garden Elementary School in Schertz, is pictured with parents William and Wendy Holland of Universal City. Courtesy photo

SCHERTZ — Rose Garden Elementary School has always held a special place in Kolby Holland’s heart.

Giving back to his old campus in the form of a community-service project proved a no-brainer; fulfilling such a task helped the Clemens High School senior become an Eagle Scout.

Last November, Holland assembled and presented to Rose Garden a gaga ball pit, an octagonal structure designed to hold loads of children playing a gentler version of dodgeball.

Kolby Holland, a member of Troop 343 in Selma, earned the rank of Eagle Scout by coordinating the construction of a gaga ball pit at Rose Garden Elementary School in Schertz. He is a senior at Clemens High School. Courtesy photo

As a youth, Holland played the sport, where the objective is to eliminate your opponents by hitting them with the ball below the knees.

“It’s pretty fun,” said the 18-year-old. “Being the last person standing is an accomplishment in itself.”A month after he presented the pit to the kids, Holland made Eagle Scout, a task 12 years in the making.

He received the honor during his birthday month. Members of Scouts BSA have to meet all the requirements for Eagle Scout prior to age 18, pending any unforeseen circumstances.

“Growing up, I was raised not to quit and give up on something,” said Holland, who belongs to Troop 343 out of Selma. “Seeing that finish line and getting closer and closer kept me pushing on.”

Holland had some assistance on the way.

He credited friends, family members and neighbors for helping him raise funds (roughly $1,900), donating materials for the pit, and, on occasion, contributing with construction, which he said took two weeks.

All in all, the Eagle Scout spent 36 hours working on the project, which included sanding, staining and drilling holes in the wooden boards.

The final product left Holland amazed.

“I didn’t think it would be that big, so I was like, ‘I think I will set this up in our driveway,’” said the teen, who began fundraising efforts last August. “And, that thing took up two parking spaces and another 10 feet. I took my youth group to test it out, and we had 40 to 50 kids in there, and there is still room for more.”

Holland said feedback from Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District representatives has been positive; an official dedication ceremony has not yet been scheduled, he added. Currently, Rose Garden and all San Antonio-area schools are temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the shuttering, campus personnel could not be reached for comment.

Next year, Holland plans to attend a trade school and study welding because “just sitting back in an office” isn’t his cup of tea. His long-term goal is to own a business that does hardscapes.

“He likes to design and build things with his hands,” said his mother, Wendy Holland. “He is really good at that.”

Holland also has some leadership experience under his belt, which is another prerequisite to achieving Eagle Scout.

The Universal City resident has served as a patrol leader and a historian during his decade-plus Scouting tenure.

“I know what gets people motivated,” he said. “Not every person is the easiest to work with; there are still other things they can do, and they don’t tend to realize that their one little part will tend to get a project going.”

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