Gary and Cornelia Elliott Hearst know what it takes to be good parents and what it takes to build successful children: teamwork, consistency and making sure they’re involved in myriad activities.
Along this journey, the Hearsts have raised their three sons on the Bible and empowering mantras like “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” and “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.”
It is that philosophy that has brought the young Hearsts to where they are today: receiving the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout.
While it’s not unheard of for three or more sons in a family to achieve this honor, it is an amazing feat for all three — who aren’t triplets — to do so at the same time.
The Eagle Court of Honor Ceremony for 18-year-old Gary Michael Hearst II, 16-year-old George Elliott Hearst III and 14-year-old Garrison Quincy Hearst I will take place at 11:30 a.m. today at Akron’s House of the Lord church, 1650 Diagonal Road.
After hearing so much about this amazing family from recently retired Beacon Journal photographer Paul Tople, himself an Eagle Scout and advancement chairman for the Old Portage District in the Great Trail Council of Akron, I couldn’t wait to meet them. Given how busy they all are, that took some doing.
“This is very unusual in the world of scouting, or at least as far as I know,” Tople said. “In the more than 10 years I have been advancement chairman for the district, I have never had three brothers receive the award at the same time. I have had three brothers follow each other, but again, not at the same time. I would imagine that this is pretty unusual on a national level, too.”
The Hearst brothers passed their Eagle Scout boards of review separately on March 8 at the House of the Lord where they are Troop 308 members.
“Their mother is as much a story as the boys for her involvement in the BSA program and guiding the boys with the help of her husband,” Tople continued. “And all of the boys are doing well academically.”
Mom carries with her at all times a huge, color-coded calendar outlining her family’s schedules, which photographer Phil Masturzo likened to a spreadsheet. That’s the only way it works, the Akron Public Schools teacher noted. Dad is a retired AME Third Episcopal Church pastor with 25 years of service, and was recently promoted to area manager of Kentucky and Tennessee for AT&T.
Mom formerly served as PTA president at Portage Path elementary school when her sons were students there, and is now a committee chair with the Scout troop.
“We’ve been very blessed to be their parents,” said Cornelia Hearst, who was a Brownie and Girl Scout, speaking for her husband who couldn’t be present.
“We were told to watch out for the Terrible Twos but we never experienced that. Then we were warned about the teenage years but we’ve never had a problem there either. We’ve had a wonderful time!”
Good parenting, very definitely. And these boys are super engaged:
• Gary Michael Hearst II, a senior at Firestone High School, participates in track, basketball, football and cross country, and “I did play baseball for 15 years,” he said. He’s also on the school’s swimming and diving teams. The latter means getting up at 4 a.m. to be at school and in the pool at 5:30. He’s in marching band (alto sax, trumpet) and plays flute, clarinet and “a little piano.” He’s also in men’s chorus, symphonic choir and theater (he was a Chimney Sweep in the recent Mary Poppins production) and dances jazz, tap and contemporary hip-hop. Did I mention he’s in the All-City Musical, Bye Bye Birdie?
He plans to spend his freshman year at Morehouse College, the historically African-American men’s college in Atlanta, then transfer to University of Southern California for track. He has the Olympics in mind (he took fifth place in the Junior Olympics in 2010 in Norfolk, Va.).
His Eagle Scout project involved the proper way to retire the U.S. flag.
• George Elliott Hearst III, a sophomore at Firestone, is in the school’s Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) program, which he had to audition for. “I love history and music,” he said, adding that he plans a double major in those subjects in college. He’s also a certified lifeguard.
His Eagle Scout project? Designing and building a bench for Emmanuel Christian Academy, located on the church’s campus.
• Garrison Quincy Hearst I, an eighth-grader at Litchfield Middle School, plays clarinet and bass clarinet, runs cross country, swims, and participates in choir, marching band and theater. “I just tag along with whatever they do,” he said of his older brothers. He has been accepted in Firestone’s VPA program for next school year and plans to join men’s chorus and symphonic choir. His career plan is chemical engineering: “I have high A’s in math, social studies and science.”
Yes, former NFL running back Garrison Hearst is a relative.
His Eagle Scout project was designing and building a patio for the school’s playground, as well as a brick pathway over an oftentimes muddy area.
Inspired to reach goal
The brothers — who became involved in scouting while in elementary school — were inspired to reach the Eagle goal once they saw the Eagle Scout project book of their teacher Karen Grindall’s son, Colin Grindall, who now teaches bio-health at Buchtel High School. They got excited about the nature side of scouting after attending the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center with an APS program for several overnight experiences.
The Hearst brothers are fun-loving, albeit very focused.
And there’s this. Garrison’s grade-point average is 3.4; George’s is 3.5; and Gary’s fluctuates between 3.9 and 4.3.
Now that’s Parenting 101, Gary and Cornelia Elliott Hearst style! There ought to be a badge or two for them.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com