SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Stephen Lehren, a senior at Columbia High School, was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America’s highest recognition, during a Court of Honor ceremony on Sept. 22 at South Orange Public Library.
For his Eagle Scout project, Lehren, a member of local Troop 60, created “Heroes of South Orange,” an audio archive highlighting the history of local political change. Troop members conducted interviews with community leaders whose work has significantly impacted South Orange in the areas of preservation, conservation, business, education, athletics and race relations; those interviewed were Richard Bell, Rob Fisch, Darrell Gunter, Bill Haskins, John Parry, Anina Rosen, Donna Smith, Charlie Tamayo and Rev. Sandye Wilson.
The equipment was donated to South Orange Public Library to be used for the recording and preservation of interviews with community members and, according to Director Melissa Kopecky, serves the library’s goal of preserving and podcasting community stories.
“The library thanks Stephen, not only for the equipment, but for creating and initiating the process of recording interviews,” Kopecky said.
As a guest speaker, Wilson, who has known Lehren since he was 3 and has watched him grow into an active member of the community, said the future is in good hands with Lehren and his politically active peers working together to forge ideas and actions to make the world a better place.
Lehren paid tribute to his grandfather, the late William Lehren, an Eagle Scout himself, by wearing his grandfather’s uniform from the 1940s. Stephen Lehren is a third generation Boy Scout; his father, Andrew Lehren, serves as an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 60, which serves South Orange and Maplewood and is chartered by the Benevolent & Protective Order of the Elks No. 1154 in South Orange. Stephen Lehren honored his Eagle mentor, Matt Brauner, previously Troop 60’s Scout leader, for his guidance throughout the process.
Stephen Lehren told the audience at his Court of Honor that scouting has been an important part of his life since he was a Cub Scout in grade school and has, through the years, helped shape his civic engagement. Interviewing local leaders was an outgrowth of his interests in history and politics.
Stephen Lehren is the son of Andrew and Marilyn Joyce Lehren of South Orange. His sister, Holly Lehren, a senior at Muhlenberg College, sang the national anthem to open the ceremony.