Thomas Kopasko Awarded $3,000 National Scholarship
Thomas Kopasko from Harrison City, PA has been awarded the $3,000 Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting®. He belongs to St. Barbara Catholic Church in the Diocese of Greensburg and is a member of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 239, in the Westmoreland-Fayette Council. This year, nine service scholarships totaling $25,000 were awarded nationwide to recognize scouts for outstanding service and leadership in four areas: Church, Community, School and Scouting.
Kopasko truly embodies the idea of servant leadership. When asked why volunteering is important to him, he responded, “Volunteering brings me joy. While I am a part of many activities that provide feelings of happiness, it is the volunteer work that grounds me in the mercy of God, and it is volunteering that makes me able to follow His will.” Kopasko earned all four of the religious emblems offered by the NCCS. A gifted pianist, he serves as a musician for his parish as well as an altar server, Eucharistic Minister and lector. Kopasko has also been a Youth Group Leader, Vacation Bible School teacher, retreat leader and mission trip participant.
Active in his community, Kopasko volunteers with organizations such as Amen to Action, Westmoreland County Food Bank, the Big Buddy Program and the Lions Club. In 2018, he received the Bushy Run Lions Club Service Award and has been involved with community conservation and clean-up with PA Cleanways, Morisini Reserve and Bushy Run State Park.
At Penn-Trafford High School, Kopasko is a member of the National Honor Society and cofounder and president of the Engineering Club. He served as a leader and judge for the Great Debate middle and high school program, is a member of the Robotics Program, Spanish Club, Community Action Program and the Varsity and Junior Varsity Tennis teams.
In Scouting, Kopasko has served numerous leadership positions ranging from Troop Chaplain to Junior Assistant Scout Master. He is a member of the Order of the Arrow (OA), BSA’s Honor Society and served as Lodge 6 Vigil Honor Chair. The challenge of Covid-19 restrictions caused
Kopasko to rethink his Eagle Scout Project. Over several months, he organized over 50 volunteers to handcraft 1,123 rosaries and safely deliver them along with personalized letters and instructions on how to pray the rosary to disenfranchised members of the parish community.
Kopasko is the recipient of the 2020 American Legion Department of Pennsylvania Eagle Scout of the Year Award and the 2nd Runner-up for the 2020 American Legion National Eagle Scout of the Year.
To be eligible to apply for the National Catholic Committee on Scouting® Scholarships, the Scout must be Catholic, earned the Ad Altare Dei and/or Pope Pius XII Awards and received either the Eagle Scout, Summit or Quartermaster Award. A complete list of award recipients,
eligibility requirements and applications can be found at http://nccs-bsa.org/index.php/collegescholarship. NCCS Scholarship recipients have been chosen because they are committed to making a difference for good in the world through service and leadership. Young people, like
Thomas Kopasko, are certain to enrich our future.