JPII junior earns Eagle Scout rank after project at St. Stephen

Eagle Scout Matthew Solarz stands beside one of the Stations of the Cross he installed in the Prayer Garden at his parish, St. Stephen Catholic Community in Old Hickory, as part of his Eagle Scout project. Solarz, a graduate of Holy Rosary Academy, is a junior at Pope John Paul II High School.

Matthew Solarz, a parishioner at St. Stephen Catholic Community in Old Hickory and a junior at Pope John Paul II High School, recently earned his Eagle Scout rank.

For his Eagle Scout project, Solarz installed the Stations of Cross in the parish’s Prayer Garden. The stations were formerly in the church until they were replaced several years ago, Solarz said. “They’ve just been sitting in a shed,” he said. St. Stephen’s former pastor, Father Patrick Kibby, told Solarz he would like an outdoor Stations of the Cross on the parish grounds, and Solarz set to work repurposing the old stations.

Solarz built a cedar frame for each of the 14 stations and hung them on cedar posts. The work began in June and was completed in November.

Solarz organized two work days, one to dig the holes for the posts and the second to set the posts in concrete and hang the stations on the posts.

Because of the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, “it was harder this year because I couldn’t have that many people” to help, Solarz said. “I had to limit it to a just a few people and we had to be socially distanced.”

Eagle Scout Matthew Solarz installed Stations of the Cross in the Prayer Garden of his parish, St. Stephen Catholic Community in Old Hickory, as his Eagle Scout project. Solarz is a graduate of Holy Rosary Academy and a junior at Pope John Paul II High School.

Several weeks after the project was completed, Solarz, a member of Troop 150 chartered by American Legion Post 281 in Mt. Juliet, completed a Board of Review. “That’s the last requirement for my Eagle rank,” Solarz explained. During the review, which was conducted as a Zoom meeting, the panel “asked me questions on my whole Scouting journey,” he said.

“I started in first grade as a Tiger Cub in Pack 84 at Holy Rosary” Church, said Solarz, who graduated from Holy Rosary Academy. “I like the outdoor and camping that (Scouting) brings and also the friendships I’ve made with people,” he said of his time as a Scout. “I’ve made friends with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise who are going to be friends for life.” The Court of Honor ceremony for Solarz and two other scouts in his troop who earned the Eagle rank has yet to be scheduled.

Solarz is the son of Dan and Julie Solarz.