Bristol’s new Eagle Scout soars in achievements


A sense of pride and personal accomplishment was written all over the face of 17-year-old Mat Ciociola during his Eagle Scout Court of Honor, Troop 2, ceremonies Sunday at the Bristol Train of Artillery hall. Not only was Mat hailed for scouting excellence by all those in attendance, but he was singled out for his high academic standing as an honor student and athlete at Bishop Hendricken High School, as well as his participation in a variety of other activities. He’s also very religious.

Mathew has sung in Rome for the Pope; and performed in Spain and at Fatima in Portugal. He’s played football for Hendricken, and is currently on the Hawks’ varsity baseball team. He’s as well-rounded a student/athlete as you’ll find anywhere.

He received the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award and won the Best Buy Scholarship. Just recently, he was selected to sing at Carnegie Hall in the American High School Honors Performance Series. He was also selected by the Bristol County Lions Club as ‘Heart of a Lion’.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our son,” said his parents, Robert and Judy Ciociola, of Burton Street. “Matt has worked so hard for everything he’s achieved in his young life.”

Attaining scouting’s highest honor is no small task. Mat can certainly attest to that.

“It’s been a long road,” said the disciplined and well-spoken youngster.

Following his high school graduation this spring, he will head out west to further his education at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

“I really feel great about becoming the newest Eagle Scout. This is such a great honor,” he said.

Mat Ciociola has always set the bar high for himself no matter what the challenge, giving full credit to his parents for giving him the freedom and support in reaching his personal goals.

“I don’t know where I’d be without them,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work and perseverance, plus the love of my parents, for me to become an Eagle Scout. I don’t know what I would do without them. They’ve always been there for me.”

During the program local and state officials were present to pay tribute to this remarkable young man. He received several citations and congratulatory greetings from the Boy Scouts of America, as well as the RI General Assembly and town of Bristol. Invocation was offered by the Rev. Henry P. Zinno Jr., pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church; and the Rev. Stephen Dandeneau, assistant pastor at Mt. Carmel, gave the benediction.

Other highlights included the presentation of the Eagle award by Scoutmaster Mike Sullivan, and the Eagle Charge and Promise, given by Timothy Pray, Eagle Scout and Assistant Scoutmaster. Lynne Kern, committee chair, also made special presentations.

In addition, assistant scoutmaster Jim Boylan led in the Pledge of Allegiance and assisted in the Eagle in History and Candle Ceremony. Senior patrol leader Nick D’Angelo read the Scout Oath and Law, and Troop 6 assistant scoutmaster Ian Chilcot talked about scouting’s 100 years.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.