Alumni Story: Nathan Hackney

At Myrtle Grove Christian School, we work to develop students academically and spiritually. Our goal is that eighth grade graduates are maturing followers of Jesus Christ equipped and inspired to impact the world for the glory of God. We are proud of our alumni whose lives and characters reflect this goal.

One MGCS alumnus that serves as an excellent example of this is Nathan Hackney. Nathan graduated from MGCS in June 2018 after completing the preschool, lower, and upper school programs. During sixth grade, Nathan took the ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) elective. The ROV elective offers students an opportunity to collaborate in teams as they imagine, design, and engineer submersible robotic vehicles. Our student-led teams build their vehicles to perform specific tasks such as retrieving or moving objects on the floor of a pool.  Then they compete against other teams in the MATE ROV competition each spring.

Since MGCS did not have a pool onsite for the students to practice, they used a donated watering trough. Nathan recognized several challenges this posed to him and his ROV classmates. For example, the trough did not offer a deck to stand on that would offer a more accurate competition experience. In addition, the trough’s depth and size limited the number of students who could practice and the types of training they could perform. So Nathan talked with the ROV course instructor, Jeremy Burnett, about what could be done to help. Mr. Burnett described the need for a pool with a deck that would allow for a more authentic training and engineering experience.

Nathan, a long time Boy Scout participant, had been considering different ideas for his Eagle Scout project. After his conversation with Mr. Burnett he made a decision to use his Eagle Scout project to construct an ROV-friendly pool and deck to benefit his school, fellow classmates, and a program that he valued. After seeking approval through all appropriate channels, securing donations, assembling a team of volunteers, and redesigning the deck to accommodate budget and safety concerns, Nathan began work in mid-November and completed the project about 2 weeks later.

Since its completion, the ROV flight tank has been used regularly. This semester MGCS offered an advanced ROV course for students who have taken the initial course. They will compete at the ROV MATE competition in Albemarle, NC this spring. Nathan’s project will also allow us to offer an additional ROV course for elementary students next year. The ROV flight tank has proven to enhance other parts of MGCS’s programs as well. In January our second grade students designed floating feeding cages for sea turtles and used the ROV flight tank to test their designs.

MGCS is thankful for Nathan’s contribution and we are especially proud of the significant life skills, and spirit of service he demonstrated throughout this process.  The ROV flight tank will enrich and improve the school’s program for years to come. Nathan earned the rank of Eagle Scout on February 23rd and continues to serve MGCS by volunteering in a variety of ways. We love hearing how seeds planted at MGCS are bearing fruit in the lives of our MGCS graduates.  Share your alumni story with us here: