Niaz Goodbee’s senior year: A soaring achievement

– Photo courtesy of Douglas Goodbee

For his Eagle Scout Service Project, Niaz Goodbee built a marine wildlife viewing station at the Heldeberg Workshop, a not-for-profit adventure learning organization in New Scotland.

VOORHEESVILLE – Niaz Goodbee is an impressive young man: intelligent, self-assured, and, according to his father, a bit of a history-maker.

Goodbee recently became the first African American to reach the rank of Eagle from Voorheesville’s Troop 73 of the Boy Scouts of America. Eagle is the highest rank attainable in the scouting program.

Being the first African-American Eagle Scout from Troop 73, Niaz Goodbee said, does hold significance. And, it’s clear that being a Scout has had held significance for Goodbee.

He joined the Boy Scouts, he said, because it was a great way to connect with people, “and to show your community that you want to help it as well as those who live in it.” Goodbee said that being a Boy Scout is a really good way to show who you are as a person, that it shapes your personality and demeanor.

The 12 points of Scout Law, he said, have shaped him, and he thinks that others would use some of the 12 points to describe him as well: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

“Those qualities have made me into a better person, and I feel like if I didn’t do Boy Scouts – I feel – I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” he said.

Goodbee has earned over 21 merit badges, the number needed to become an Eagle, he said.

For his Eagle Scout Service Project, a capstone project that is a requirement in order for Boy Scouts to attain the Eagle Scout rank, Goodbee built a marine wildlife viewing station, a dock, at the Heldeberg Workshop, a not-for-profit adventure learning organization in New Scotland

His favorite badge, he said, was an environmental badge in forestry. He likes plants, he said, and was able to learn a lot about them. The most difficult badge to earn was in wilderness and survival, he said, because he had to make a teepee by himself out of branches, sticks, and reeds. “Mine partly stayed up,” he said.

Goodbee said that he really likes the trips that the Scouts take: deep-sea fishing off the coast of Massachusetts, annual canoe troops, and the Rotary Scout Camp, where Scouts go to earn merit badges. “That was always fun because you get to meet new people, new counselors, and see all the old counselors,” he said of Rotary Scout Camp.

Graduating from high school and becoming an Eagle Scout in the same year, “I’m really happy for myself,” he said.

He’s worked hard.

Goodbee is in the top 10 percent of his class at Voorheesville’s high school; this fall, he’ll be attending Syracuse University. He plans on studying biochemistry, he said. He wants to work in the pharmaceutical industry.

Is he ready to go from tiny Voorheesville to giant Syracuse?

“I think, I’m ready,” he said. “There will be a big change in diversity, which I’m looking forward to.”

Keys to his young success?

“There are a lot of heroes, but who inspired me to keep pushing was my parents,” he said. “They gave me a good work ethic.”

And the Scouts?

“I want people to know that it’s an amazing program, and do not let anybody tell you otherwise,” he said.

People will say Boys Scouts is lame, he said. “It’s not lame.” It’s a good experience and you’ll learn a lot, he said. “Don’t let others tell you what it’s about if they haven’t been through it.”

 

– Photo courtesy of Douglas Goodbee

Flying high: Niaz Goodbee, third from the left, recently became the first African American to reach the rank of Eagle from Voorheesville’s Troop 73 of the Boy Scouts of America. From left are his sister, Aliyah Goodbee; his father, Douglas; Niaz; aid to Senator George Amedore, Tony Stanish; his mother, Najiyyah; and his sister, Somae.


 

 


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