Photo courtesy of Diana Blackham: Donovan Blackham shows students at Ballard High School how vaping can hurt their lungs.
Photo courtesy of Diana Blackham: Donovan Blackham shows students at Ballard High School how vaping can hurt their lungs.

Donovan Blackham and Seth Baker grew up together in Magnolia and have been friends since they were toddlers. They go to the same high school, attend the Magnolia Church of Latter Day Saints and have been in the same Scouts of America troop since they were 11.

When Baker was getting closer to earning Eagle Scout status, Blackham knew he had to work harder.

“I saw my best friend getting close, so I knew I had to catch up,” Blackham said.

Both Baker, 17, and Blackham, 16, worked the past summer and fall to earn their Eagle Scouts title and both will be awarded for their efforts during a scouting ceremony on Sunday, March 31.

“It takes commitment and hard work,” Blackham said. “And you have to be an example for everyone.”

“A lot comes with the title,” Baker said. “It shows that you can stick with things, and the younger scouts look up to you.”

To earn their status as Eagle Scouts, the Ballard High School juniors had to coordinate and execute special projects or events.

Baker coordinated a blood drive with Bloodworks Northwest last summer. He had to get at least 50 people to donate, and at least 20 people to donate blood for the first time.

“It was a stressful day,” Baker said. “I had to put in a lot of hours.”

Baker brought in 51 donors, and 23 were first-time donors.

Blackham decided to tackle a new problem he saw at school for his project.

“I wanted to talk about the dangers of vaping, because in high school a lot of people vape,” he said. “So I coordinated with the American Lung Association and put up a booth at my school.”

Blackham created pamphlets, education materials and shirts that said “Vaping Sucks” for his booth at Ballard High School. He manned the booth with other volunteers for a week to help his peers understand how any type of smoking can affect their lungs.

“There is definitely a lot of denial,” Blackham said.

Both boys joined Scouts of America as cub scouts when they were 8 years old. Their favorite part of scouts is the campouts and outside activities they did with their troops.

Their favorite is the annual igloo campout. During the campout, the troop travels to Mount Rainier, hikes the mountain while there is still snow, and then builds igloos to sleep in for the night.

“You don't get the best night sleep, but how many kids can say they slept in an igloo they built?” Baker said.

Baker and Blackham both pole vault for the BHS track and field team and plan to attend Brigham Young University after graduation.

Even though they earned their Eagle Scout titles, the boys know they still have a lot of troop work to do before they graduate high school.

“When you tell people you are an Eagle Scout, it definitely boosts your image,” Blackham said. “But you still have to be an example of leadership.”