b'Into theWild Blue YonderHow the SOMA Community Helped One Young Man Find His WingsBY ADRIANNA DONATStanley Finlayson holds his certificate of ap-pointment to the Air Force Academy, class of 2025. Photo by Joy Yagid.S tanley Finlayson graduated from Co- pressed with them, says Finlayson, wanting to helpare applying to a service academy. andmarchedto lumbia High School this past June.people, to lead.The spirit of the SOMA community likewise fu-But on the day of graduation, insteadFinlayson, who has since earned the rank of Ea- eled Finlaysons inspiration to apply. In fact, one of of joining his classmates to receive hisgle Scout, also had the opportunity to travel withthe three essays he wrote as part of the rigorous ap-diploma, Finlayson reported for dutyTroop 5 to Philmont Scout Camp in New Mexicoplication process focused on his experience here. as a freshman cadet at the U.S. Airin 2019. During that trip, they toured the Air ForceIn Maplewood, I was exposed to real world ra-Force Academy in Colorado Springs,Academy. Without [my experience in] the Scouts,cial issues, he says. Our community doesnt ignore Colorado. He went on to complete six weeks of Ca- I wouldnt have been interested in or accepted at thethem.Wewalkedoutofschool det Basic Training before he starts classes in the fall. Air Force, Finlayson says. Town Hall [to protest racial inequities]. Being here The idea of attending a service academy startedRoger Brauchli, Scoutmaster of Troop 5, has hightaught me to take action to make life better for oth-on a Scouting trip. In April 2015, as a member ofpraise for Cadet Finlayson: Since he joined wheners even if its not convenient, even if its not easy. MaplewoodsBoyScout Troop5,Finlaysonven- he was 11, hes always been one of the first to raiseMaplewood gave me a sense of integrity.tured up to the United States Military Academy athis hand for any kind of service project. Hes a greatFinlaysonsjourneytotheAirForceAcademy West Point, NY.example of someone living the Scout Oath. And cer- would normally have been long and arduous any-I remember seeing cadets there and being im- tainly, being an Eagle Scout doesnt hurt when youway, but the pandemic was a further complicating 40/ matters magazine / school 2021'