Latham is planning a career in engineering

Published 1:39 pm Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

YEATESVILLE — Northside High School senior Austin Latham has capped a Scouting career that began when he joined the Cub Scouts as a first-grader.
Upon achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, Latham became the recipient of one of the most prestigious awards given to young men in the United States. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of his late father by giving back to Scouting.
“I plan to continue helping out with my troop and become a leader when I get older,” said Latham, the 18-year-old son of Becky Latham of Belhaven and the late David Seth Latham. His father used to be his Scoutmaster.
“He passed away a year ago, and he was my motivation,” Latham said. “He wanted me to finish my Eagle project.”
Latham has two sisters, Rachel and JoAnna, and the family attends Belhaven Missionary Baptist Church.
For his Eagle project, Latham refurbished the four “Welcome to Belhaven” arches, replacing the deteriorating signs with new, wooden ones. He began planning the project in March 2009 and completed it in January.
The Eagle designation is the high point of a Scouting career during which Latham has earned 38 badges, including ones for swimming, citizenship, hiking, first aid and personal fitness.
“Scouting teaches us a lot about survival and other things we don’t learn in school,” Latham said. “I like that a lot.”
As for school, Latham is staying busy at Northside, as well. An honor-roll student, he’s a member of the Beta Club, Science Club and Skills USA, which provides training in technical, skilled and service occupations. He helps with the production end of things for NHS musicals, and he’s part of the drum line in the Panthers’ marching band.
“I started playing music in the eighth grade. A friend got me into it,” Latham said. “I did my senior project on the evolution of jazz.”
While he wants to continue with his music as a hobby, Latham plans to pursue a career in the engineering field. He’s been accepted into the engineering program at N.C. State University.
“It’s the most prestigious school I got into, and I like Raleigh,” Latham said. “If I do pursue engineering, that’s the best school for it. And if not engineering, I want to do something in criminal justice.”
Reid Courson, one of Latham’s teachers at Northside, praised his young student.
“Austin has earned the attention and respect of the student body, faculty and his community,” Courson said. “His personal standard for academic excellence has promoted his to the top 2 percent of his class.”
Teen Spotlight is a joint project between Beaufort County Schools and the Washington Daily News. The students profiled are selected by their respective school.
All about Austin Latham …
• Grade and school: senior, Northside High School.
• Birthday: Feb. 3.
• Favorite movie: “Anchorman.”
• Favorite TV show: “The Colbert Report.”
• Favorite book: Stephen Colbert’s “I Am America (And So Can You!)”
• Favorite food: “Anything Italian.”
• If he could spend a day in history, he would choose: “Sometime in the 1960s, with Woodstock, the counterculture.”
• Dream vacation: Brazil.