Mateo Sabio Paese

Eagle Spotlight: Mateo Sabio Paese

Meet Mateo, a Honduran-American student who is passionate about STEM. He will continue his education at the University of Southern California studying Biomedical Engineering. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his friends, family, and pets in the great outdoors. Mateo attends church every Sunday, where he is involved in the youth group and serves as a lector during Sunday services.

Being an Eagle Scout is something I am extremely proud of achieving. For me, it represents years of dedication and commitment. I feel well prepared for the challenges ahead based on the confidence I have built in Scouting as a leader, a team player, and member of the community.

Mateo Sabio Paese, Eagle Scout
About Mateo's
Mateo and his parents
Mateo and his parents
Plans beyond high school

Attending the University of Southern California (USC) to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

Are there any Scouting or non-Scouting awards or recognitions you would like to mention?

I am the recipient of 2020’s Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award for the Western Region. I also received the local Adams Award for Pacific Skyline Council. My Eagle Project has also earned me multiple awards such as the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for my school, and the Principal Service Award at my school. I am also recognized by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) as an HSF Scholar for my academic and extracurricular achievements as a Hispanic student.

Tell us a little bit about you . . .

I joined Scouting in 2012 as a first-year Webelos in Pack 565 where I earned the Arrow of Light Award and bridged into Troop 222 in 2014. Over the past nine years I have been involved in my troop through adventurous campouts, fun activities, and leadership as a Den Chief for Pack 565 and a Patrol Leader. I am a Honduran-American student who is passionate about STEM and will continue my education at the University of Southern California studying Biomedical Engineering. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my friends, family, and pets in the great outdoors. I attend church every Sunday, where I am involved in the youth group and serve as a lector during Sunday services.

When and where did you earn your Eagle Scout rank?

I passed my Eagle Board of Review on July 15, 2020 over a zoom call in my bedroom. Once COVID-19 regulations were lifted, I was recognized at my Eagle Court of Honor on June 10, 2021.

Mateo and one of the many water filter recipients
Mateo and one of his many water filter recipients
What did you do for your Eagle Project?

My Eagle Scout Service Project involved the purchase, transport, assembly, and distribution of 75 water filtration systems to fourteen villages in Northeastern Honduras.

Many people in rural Honduras, my father’s home country, lack affordable access to clean water and turn to less expensive and unhealthy forms of hydration that often lead to obesity, kidney stones, and intestinal illness. Purified water can be purchased in Honduras in 5-gallon bottles for 70 lempiras/bottle (24 lempiras = $1). A family of four would need about two 5-gallon bottles per week, costing 140 lempiras. The average daily wage is 200 lempiras, or 1000 lempiras a week. Sachet water bags hold 500 ml of water and cost  3.50 lempiras each. While cheaper, they contribute to pollution and dengue.

Filter systems were transported to Honduras in December 2019. Local volunteers from Iglesia Episcopal Hondureña San Marcos Evangelista were enlisted to aid in the assembly of the filters, training of the recipients on their use and maintenance, and distribution of the units. I provided all training in Spanish and left instructions in Spanish for the filter systems’ proper use and maintenance. The project leveraged a total of 25 volunteers between the U.S. and Honduras and required 605 hours to complete. My fundraising efforts yielded $2310 to procure the water filtration systems; another $5750 was donated to cover supplies, tools, and transportation costs. These filtration systems improved the health of the recipients by supplying a clean source of water. These units filter up to 170 gallons a day and became even more critical when Honduran citizens were required to shelter in place as part of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Additionally, there was a positive environmental impact as the use of single-use plastic water sachets was reduced. The sachets are often discarded on the side of the road not only entering the waterways but also serving as incubators for dangerous dengue-containing mosquitoes. Finally, these filters last three years and remove the financial burden of having to pay ~10% of a laborer’s income to secure clean water for their families. This allows them to use those funds to meet other basic needs. I began my Eagle Scout Service Project on 1/1/2018 and completed distribution on 1/4/2020.

Did you have a favorite merit badge(s)? Did any merit badges lead to a hobby or profession?

I remember completing the Environmental Science merit badge at summer camp and it was the first merit badge I completed that was related to science. I remember being fascinated about biodiversity in the environments of the summer camps and it made me want to learn more about the biology of nature. I have taken more merit badges such as Composite Materials, Nature, and Mammal Studies to further my knowledge. Over time, I have developed an interest in ways to help in the medical industry and it has prompted me to study Biomedical Engineering. My experiences in Scouting have influenced my career choice.

What does being an Eagle Scout mean to you?
Being an Eagle Scout is something I am extremely proud of achieving. For me, it represents years of dedication and commitment. I feel well prepared for the challenges ahead based on the confidence I have built in Scouting as a leader, a team player, and member of the community.
 
Mateo and Señora Murcia
Mateo and Señora Murcia, the first water filter recipient
What is the greatest personal asset you developed while earning your Eagle Scout rank, or from being an Eagle in the greater community? How has this asset contributed to your personal fulfillment and success in your personal or professional life?

My greatest assets are ambition, strength, and determination and they were born out of my Eagle Project preparation and execution.

My Eagle Project was one of my proudest experiences in Scouting. The purpose of the project and the effort put into it describe who I am as a person. I know I left an impact on the recipients, as well as possibly inspired other Scouts to be ambitious with their projects. Executing the project confirmed with me that ambition, strength, and determination are key characteristics that lead to success. With these traits in mind, I hope to embody them in the endeavors I pursue in the future including opportunities to have an even broader community impact. I am grateful that through my experiences in Scouting I have developed these traits of an Eagle Scout.

Do you have any advice for your fellow Eagles, or for those working towards becoming an Eagle? Or is there common advice that you think should be ignored?

My advice to aspiring Eagles is that not everything has to be done conventionally. Something conventional is something that is based on what is generally done or believed. My project was very ambitious, and I could not have done it without the ideas from others. I asked many adults for advice but at the end of the day I had to pave my own path. If I would have listened to every piece of advice, I would have not been able to execute my Eagle Project because I was recommended to wait longer to execute the project and the pandemic would have not let that happen. At times I had to think for myself and be innovative. I made calculated decisions and at the end I executed a great project.

If you could add a thirteenth point to the Scout Law, what would it be?

A Scout values diversity and inclusion.

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