Students at Lighthouse High School are enjoying their new beautiful garden thanks to Senior Joe Briskey and his Eagle Scout project. Joe transferred to Lighthouse at the beginning of the school year to experience a more flexible high school program. Lighthouse is considered a hybrid program that combines classroom activities and independent studies and is tailored to each student’s needs. Camy Ditter, a talented veteran teacher with the Alternative Education Department of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, started Lighthouse and she specializes in social-emotional learning and balancing the demands of academics with the emotional needs of students.
Joe, who moved to the area when he was 11, joined the Boy Scouts as soon as he arrived and has been a dedicated member of Troop 609 ever since. His dream of becoming an Eagle Scout requires a significant amount of work, including creating and following through with a community project. When Joe arrived at Lighthouse he had been looking for an Eagle Scout project to complete for over two months and his deadline was quickly approaching. It just so happened that the perfect project was waiting for Joe at his new school. The garden behind his class was nothing short of a disaster. The weeds in the garden were waist high, debris and trash from people camping covered the garden area, and the lurking dangers of broken glass and needles was ever-present. Despite the dangers, Joe created a plan and gatheredhis friends and fellow troop members to carry out the garden overhaul. Staffand students alike are amazed at Joe’s work and how beautiful the garden turnedout. The final stage of Joe’s Eagle Scout approval process is his board reviewand Joe, who has experienced and overcome some significant life challenges, is ready for this daunting task.
Joe is dedicated and motivated to reach his goals no matter what stands in his way. When Joe was just 10 years old he was diagnosed with a brain cancer and had to have surgery to remove the tumor. Recently, Joe was diagnosed with epilepsy which developed after his surgery. Despite his recent diagnosis, Joe is motivated more than ever to not only become an Eagle Scout but to graduate early to pursue his love of traveling before continuing his studies. On the horizon Joe has plans to travel to Canada, Indonesia, and Iceland. Joe’s love of life and desire to push himself to do his best is inspiring and he is an integral part of the Lighthouse community.