Contributed by Chris
and Amy Hess

Andrew Hess, a member of Boy Scout Troop 858 and a senior at Opelika High School, earned the honor of Eagle Scout, the highest rank that the Boy Scouts offers. Only 3 to 4% of Boy Scout members ever attain this prestigious honor.

In total, Hess achieved the 21 merit badges required to receive the Eagle Scout award, along with 12 additional badges. For his final project, he built three beehives for Opelika High School’s Agricultural Department. Hess chose his project based on collaboration with Opelika School System Superintendent, Dr. Mark Neighbors, Secondary Curriculum & Career Tech Coordinator, Katie Murray and agricultural teachers, Ginny Gaberlavage and Jasen Spoon. The Agricultural Department has developed a farm on campus and wanted to add pollinators to assist in the pollination of plants and crops. 

To prepare for his project, Hess attended a virtual Beginner Beekeeping Course, which was presented with cooperation of the Saugahatchee Beekeepers Association, Lee County Cooperative System and Claybird Bee Education Association. The class met once a week for eight weeks and covered a range of topics, including bee anatomy, building hives and harvesting honey. The instructor for the course, Damon Wallace, assisted Hess in determining what materials would be required and allowed the use of his workshop for the building of the hives.

Through the generosity of friends and family, Hess was able to purchase the materials required to build all three hives. He also donated some beekeeping supplies and $200 to Opelika High School’s Agricultural Department.

The process included building individual boxes and frames, wiring of frames, installing frame foundations, priming and painting boxes and installing the hives on their foundations at the farm. A total of three lids, 15 boxes, 120 frames and three bottom boards were prepared. Hess, along with 26 volunteers, worked  over 250 hours to plan, build, paint, install and present the hives.

Following the completion of his project, Hess shared a presentation, via Zoom, to his troop about all he had learned about bees. Hess earned his Eagle rank at his board of review held on April 20 at Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn.

All of this would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Hess’s Eagle Scout coach, Dean Rodgers, master beekeeper, Damon Wallace, Troop 858 members and friends and family who donated their time and effort to this project.

Hess would also like to thank the following businesses who either donated time, expertise or gave discounts to his project: Redeemed Painting, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and Dorris Signs.

A ceremony honoring Hess was held on May 8 at 10 a.m. at Trinity Methodist Church in Opelika.  The family would like to thank all of those who were able to attend.