Eagle Scout project bolsters safety at Clawson elementary schools

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 13, 2022

 Colin McClure, a Clawson High School senior, holds paint stirrers that used to hold bookshelves and the brackets he used to permanently fix them for his Eagle Scout project at Kenwood and Schalm elementary schools.

Colin McClure, a Clawson High School senior, holds paint stirrers that used to hold bookshelves and the brackets he used to permanently fix them for his Eagle Scout project at Kenwood and Schalm elementary schools.

Photo provided by Colin McClure

 Colin McClure instructs members of Boy Scout Troop 1615 how to perform repairs at Kenwood Elementary School.

Colin McClure instructs members of Boy Scout Troop 1615 how to perform repairs at Kenwood Elementary School.

Photo provided by Colin McClure

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CLAWSON — The libraries at Kenwood and Schalm elementary schools in Clawson are now much safer for both students and staff, thanks to an Eagle Scout project that fixed more than 140 unsteady bookshelves.

Colin McClure, 17, of Clawson, petitioned the schools’ parent-teacher organizations to secure the funds for supplies, recruited his fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 1615 for two mornings of work, and figured out on his own how to secure the bookshelves.

The project is the final steppingstone for McClure to officially become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts.

McClure said he learned of the need for a permanent solution to the bookshelves after his mom noticed that staff members were using paint stirrers to hold up the shelves while she was volunteering at Schalm Elementary School.

After testing a couple of prototypes, McClure devised a solution using corner brackets, tubing and screws to prevent the shelves from sliding or collapsing without damaging them.

“We spent two and a half hours at each school (Dec. 29-30). It took a lot of planning,” he said. “When it came to fundraising, the school PTOs were very receptive. They had an influx of money from not being able to do some events the previous years.”

The Clawson High School senior dedicated a large portion of his winter break to completing the project. Now that the work is finished, he said he feels a sense of accomplishment as well as relief.

The project falls within the ambitions of McClure, who is considering attending college for mechanical or electrical engineering. He also played tennis in the fall and plans to participate on the robotics and track teams this year.

Debbie Ziegler, the district’s librarian and media tech, expressed gratitude to McClure for choosing to improve Schalm and Kenwood, as the unstable bookshelves posed a real threat to elementary school students. She said they have fallen on both students and staff in the past — luckily without any major issues — and that staff had been hesitant to place books on shelves for fear of an accident.

“Kids in elementary school don’t know not to lean on them or put extra weight on them, and books are heavy,” Ziegler said. “Now, if we put any pressure on them, they are not going anywhere, which is just fantastic.”

She said McClure handled the project with professionalism, keeping her in the loop every step of the way and forging ahead despite setbacks caused by the pandemic.

“To have such attention to detail for someone that young is amazing,” she said. “He really had it together. They did a fantastic job.”

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