2017-04-20 / Front Page

Autism awareness

Area students collaborate on final Scout project
By Sam Tunningley


Seth Reel and Emily Cobleigh stand next to Flushing Community Schools’ Superintendent Tim Stein at the unveiling of their new project located at Flushing High School. Seth Reel and Emily Cobleigh stand next to Flushing Community Schools’ Superintendent Tim Stein at the unveiling of their new project located at Flushing High School. A colorful bench representing an important message is now displayed in Flushing High School thanks to the hard work of Emily and Seth – two local Scouts who made a unique decision to work together on their final project.

The move was unprecedented for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, made even more atypical when factoring in the pair are dating. Reel used the project to achieve his Eagle Scout badge and Cobleigh for her Gold Award – the highest honors in the respective organizations, with only 4-5 percent ever reaching such a status.

Work on the bench started in January of this year. Cobleigh, a senior, is a member of the Peer-2-Peer group at the high school, which started with a primary focus on autism but now aids and brings recognition to all special needs students. Cobleigh had to put in 80 hours of preparation work for her project, and the bench idea enabled her to fulfill the proper requirements.

Colored puzzle pieces decorate the bench – the universal symbol for autism – and the base is coated in dark blue as the movement’s prime color. Cobleigh, in an emotional statement, dedicated their work to Peer-2-Peer at the project’s unveiling.

“I know that in dedicating the bench to the Peer-2-Peer program they will continue to do great things and inspire students like me to make a difference in our community,” said Cobleigh. “I couldn’t imagine dedicating it to anyone else.”

Reel, sophomore, belongs to Troop 115 and has achieved his Paul Bunyan Award, Arrow of Light and is currently a Life Scout and past Senior Patrol Leader, while Cobleigh is with Troop 11965 and achieved the status of an Ambassador. The two said there was never a moment on the project spent without each other.

Several local businesses, including Dollar General in Flushing and Lowe’s in Montrose, provided the necessary materials, but Cobleigh and Reel performed all the labor themselves. After graduation, Reel plans on going into engineering and Cobleigh into speech pathology.

“We want to say thank you to the City of Flushing for putting up the signs and supporting us, and all the businesses and people who supported the project,” said Cobleigh.

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