LBHS student Joseph Hovanesian’s Eagle Scout Project receives top OC honors 

Laguna Beach High School sophomore Joseph was honored on Wednesday night with the Eagle Scout Project of the Year award at the Eagle Scout recognition dinner of the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts. His project involved creating a sewing program for a nonprofit youth shelter in the developing country of Armenia. 

Hovanesian, whose video describing his project was played for the audience of 500 at the recognition, has been a Scout since he joined Tiger Cubs in first grade. He dreamed up the project in the spring of 2017, when his family was planning a two-week summer vacation to their ancestral homeland. “I’ve always enjoyed creating things, and I had learned to sew the year before. I wanted my Eagle project to benefit young people in Armenia,” he said. 

He learned about Orran, a shelter in Armenia’s capital city that takes children who were found begging on the street and gives them educational and enriching after-school activities. Sewing was notably missing from their offerings, so Joseph set out to raise $1,500 in the US to buy Orran two sewing machines and supply them with enough fabric and supplies for a year’s worth of teaching. 

To raise the money, Joseph created a website, made an appearance on KX 93.5’s “Caroline’s Cause Corner” with Caroline Rustigian, and made presentations at Thurston Middle School and at his church. 

Hovanesian Eagle Project Award

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Submitted photo

Hovanesian (center) receives the Eagle Scout Project of the Year Award from (L to R) Jeff Herrmann, CEO, and Mark Engstrom, Chairman of the Board of the OC Boy Scouts

An outpouring of support ensued. He raised over $5,000 – more than twice his goal – and received five large duffel bags of donated fabric, much of it from a local dress shop and from Pacific Coast Drapery Manufacturing, owned by Sam Eidt, the dad of a fellow Scout. With the added funds, Joseph’s project was able to buy four sewing machines and support the salary of a teacher in Armenia for the sewing program’s first year. 

With his family and his donated supplies, Joseph traveled to Armenia and taught the first two lessons to about 20 local children. “Before the trip, we did a dry run sewing lesson with my guy friends in Laguna to get me ready, but I actually found it easier to teach a bunch of girls whose language I didn’t speak in Armenia because they paid much closer attention,” said Joseph.

At LBHS, Joseph takes part in drama and Destination Imagination. Only one in 25 Boy Scouts earns the Eagle rank. The requirements include leadership experience, 21 merit badges ranging in topic from Environmental Science to Lifesaving, and a service project where the Scout plans, develops, and gives leadership in a significant effort that benefits others. Having achieved their Eagles together on December 5 last year, Joseph and his fellow Scout Logan Leeds added to the list of 117 Eagles in the 73-year history of Troop 35, chartered to Laguna Presbyterian Church. 

Scouts BSA is a program of the Boy Scouts of America for both boys and girls from kindergarten through high school. 

To learn more about Laguna Beach Pack and Troop 35, visit

To view Joseph’s project video, click here.