Eighteen-year-old Archer Hadley is no ordinary Eagle Scout. Not only is he among the small percentage of Boy Scouts who achieve the Eagle Scout rank, but he is among the elite group of Eagle Scouts with disabilities. At his high school in Austin, Texas, Hadley is making a difference in the lives of fellow students with disabilities.
An Eagle Scout with the Capitol Area Council’s Troop 5, chartered by First United Methodist Church of Austin, Hadley is a senior at Stephen F. Austin High School. He uses a wheelchair because he has cerebral palsy, but that has not slowed him down.
According to Hadley, none of the doors at Stephen F. Austin High School or any other school in the district have automatic door openers. One day, he was stuck outside in the rain and had to wait for someone to let him into the school building because he could not open the door. He decided that he did not want another individual with disabilities to experience what he did. As a result, he came up with the Mr. Maroo Challenge. In the challenge students, faculty and parents pay $20 to challenge other students and faculty to spend a day in a manual wheelchair. Not only is it fun, but it brings awareness to some of the challenges that individuals with disabilities face. The challenge is just one way that Hadley is raising money for the installation of power operated doors in five locations at the school.
So far, he has raised more than $31,000 toward that goal. “The challenge has raised so much awareness and brought our campus community together,” said Hadley. “The entire process of raising money has been educational, humbling, stimulating, patience provoking, and hard.” The wheelchair challenge concluded Friday, Nov. 14. However, the donation page will remain open until Dec. 21. “The goal is to install the automatic door openers during the Christmas break,” said Hadley.
If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to the Mr. Maroo Challenge, go to http://www.austinhighmaroons.org/ and click on the “ALL ACCESS for Austin High” button at the bottom of the page, or send your donation to Mr. Ray Blue, Austin ISD, Office of Innovation and Development, 1111 W. 6th St., Suite C150, Austin, TX 78703.
Hadley demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities. He is a member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society. He attended the 2010 National Scout Jamboree and served on staff at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. Texas Environmental Excellence Awards presented Hadley an award in the youth category for his Eagle Scout project, which he completed at the age of 16.
Currently, Hadley is the national spokesperson for Challenge Aspen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing recreational, educational, and cultural experiences for those with cognitive or physical disabilities.
In addition, Hadley is the manager for his high school football and basketball teams. He plans to study Radio, Television and Film or Theology in Austin in the fall of 2015.