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Millbrook Scout paints his path to becoming an Eagle

MILLBROOK — Isaac Toonkel is a 17-year-old senior at Millbrook High School who is soon to be an Eagle Scout for Pack 31. To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must complete a community service project, such as building a bench for a local park. Toonkel said he knew for his project he wanted to use art because it is his passion; it’s also something that the community could see and enjoy. Toonkel decided to paint a mural in the Millbrook Public Library.“Since it’s in the library, the whole gist of the mural is where books can take you,” said Toonkel. “So in the mural you have the guy in the center reading a book and then all of these actions happening in the background of different things you can read about. I wanted to show people and get them more interested in reading.”Toonkel has been a Boy Scout since 2005. However, art has always been a part of his life.“I have always been interested in art. My mom is an artist so I have grown up around it,” said Toonkel.He said that four years ago he started taking classes at the Mill Street Loft Art Institute in Poughkeepsie. At Mill Street Loft, Toonkel took all of the portfolio development classes and summer programs they offered. He started with the portfolio development and then moved through the others, and most recently completed the highest level which is only offered to seniors. Only eight students are selected to be in this high-level class, which is rigorous but intended to challenge the students and encourage responsibility. Toonkel said that his time at the Mill Street Loft furthered his development and interest in majoring in art after high school. Toonkel will graduate from Millbrook this spring and is still deciding on which school to attend. He has already been accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design and Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio.Toonkel said he was interested in engineering as a major, but wants to focus more on art. He is now planning to major in industrial design, which he said is a nice balance.Toonkel has already made an impression on his peers and on his community as a result of his mural at the library.“I have heard a lot of nice comments,” said Toonkel. “Part of the Eagle project is that everyone has to be involved, so my troop helped paint it. Their ages are 11 to 17. They were really enthusiastic and had a lot of fun.”Toonkel said he enjoys the Millbrook area because there is a lot of art available to view and learn from.“You can take a train to the city, and there is the Dia in Beacon, with a lot of local things that you don’t get at other places,” said Toonkel. “I am looking forward to seeing art in new areas, but it’s nice being local.”Toonkel’s mural is located by the staircase going down to the Children’s Room. Toonkel spoke about what he hopes viewers will get out of his mural.“Hopefully it will make people understand how imaginative reading can be and get them interested in that,” he said. “I have always enjoyed looking at murals. They’re lots of fun, so I hope people get joy out of seeing it.”

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