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Scouts seeing success as they reach for the highest rank

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | March 27, 2024 2:00 AM

Three Columbia Falls Scouts are have had academic and performance arts success lately. Boone Shanks, Merrick Fairchild and Lauren Rogers did well during the recent speech and debate season, helping lead the Wildcats to a state A title.

Juniors Shanks and Rogers, who are teammates in Policy Debate, recently qualified for the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa June 15-16, edging out teammates Kynsleigh Gould and Eleanor Hollingsworth for the honor.

Fairchild, a sophomore, recently performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City with the Columbia Chorale and Coreen Duffy, director of choral activities at the University of Montana School of Music.

The trip to New York was the highlight of her year and was her first trip to the Big Apple.

“There’s vast difference between the city and where we live,” she noted. For one, New York is all about huge buildings and crowds, where in Montana, it’s open spaces and Big Sky country.

All three Scouts are currently working on or finishing up the Eagle Scout requirements, which is the highest rank in scouting.

Shanks recently completed an outdoor chapel at the Dickey Bible Camp for his Eagle Scout project. Fairchild last week was approved by the Columbia Falls City Council to complete a memorial garden for children who have lost their lives in Columbia Falls. The garden will be located at Wildcat Park, which is just off Talbott Road.

Rogers is putting a new deck on the Columbia Falls United Methodist Church.

All three have higher aspirations after high school. Fairchild is considering a career in law. Shanks wants to pursue a degree in medical engineering and Rogers a degree computer science or engineering.

She already works at the tech department at the high school.