A Pickerington High School Central graduate who will play soccer at Capital University next fall recently became an Eagle Scout after completing the restoration of a local amphitheater.
Nick Reade, who graduated from Central Saturday, June 1, and will turn 18 this month, on May 15 achieved an honor he's sought almost since joining the Cub Scouts back in first grade.
The son of Steve and Lisa Reade became the 47th and newest Eagle Scout member of Boy Scout Troop 826.
Reade secured the honor after years of involvement in both the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and after an Eagle Scout Board of Review determined his 21 merit badges and other accomplishments were worthy of the Boy Scouts' highest rank.
It also followed the completion of his Eagle Scout project last August, which included restoring -- or rather reconstructing -- eight wooden benches, two retaining walls and bannisters to a podium in an amphitheater nestled between PHS Central and the Pickerington Public Library.
Through donations he solicited for the project and fundraisers he organized himself, Reade not only was able to complete the 180-hour, $755 project, he also donated $150 leftover from the project to the Central Key Club for ongoing maintenance of the facility.
He hopes the work and funding will ensure future Central classes, library program participants and others from the community can enjoy the amphitheater for years to come.
"It was an eyesore and was pretty much unusable," Reade said.
"The first day, we worked about 10 hours just clearing low-hanging branches, cutting it up and taking the branches and wood out.
"It turned out good. So, I'm happy."
In addition to clearing the area and rebuilding the amphitheater, Reade managed a crew of 25 volunteers as they spread 120 bags of mulch around the area.
Though it wasn't easy, he said the project is a point of pride because it helped him achieve his longstanding goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.
"I feel like it's been a lot of work, but it was completely worth it," Reade said. "I feel like I've learned how to become a better leader."
What's more, Reade said he wanted to give back to his high school, and he was pleased to see some Central English classes and other teachers and students use the amphitheater for outdoor instruction during his senior year.
"I love Central and wanted to do something for Central," he said.
Becoming an Eagle Scout was monumental for Reade, but it was one of many accomplishments in recent months.
His senior year included successful seasons on Central's varsity soccer and volleyball teams, and he maintained membership in the school's National Honor Society, Key Club and Sunny Side Up.
He also recently was awarded the Ruth E. Miller Scholarship from the Fairfield County Foundation, a We Are Pickerington Scholarship, is a nominee in the Dispatch Scholar Athlete Awards and is a finalist in the Atlas Butler Service Awards.
Now, he's looking forward to enrolling at Capital and continuing his soccer career for the Crusaders.
"I signed up for college, officially committed to play soccer in college and got my Eagle Scout," Reade said. "It's been a good couple of months."