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Arts & Culture

Beavercreek Eagle Scout Wins National Award For STEM Project

15-year-old Alex Arehart of Troop 85 in Beavercreek is an Eagle Scout, and the winner of this year’s Glen A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award. For his Eagle project, Alex designed and built an ambitious outdoor seating area for the students at his high school, the Dayton Regional STEM School, where he’s a sophomore.

Alex says scouting is somewhat of a family tradition. His grandpa was a Scout as a youth and returned as an adult leader when Alex’s father joined as a boy. His father also rose to the level of Eagle Scout.

“And so, a lot of those things that we learn in scouting for the scout oath and scout law, they really carry over into our family life and we try to follow those as best we can.”

Alex is weighing his options when it comes to a career path after his education but he believes scouting will always be a part of his life.

“One of the things that's been really amazing scouting is all the opportunities that I've had, I've been able to go to the 2017 National [Scout] Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. I've gone to Sea Base in the Florida Keys. I've met so many amazing people and had the opportunity to do so many amazing things that it's really an amazing program with me.”

We spoke to Alex about his award-winning project at the Hugh Taylor Birch Camp in Yellow Springs where he’s working for the summer.

Jerry Kenney: Alex, you're really working hard at summer at camp. Tell us what you're doing here.

Alex Arehart: I am working as an instructor for the Tecumseh Island Program. The Tecumseh Island Program is for all the first-year scouts, and it really helps them get most of the requirements done for their scout’s first class.

JK: You recently received an award for a project you did for the Dayton Regional STEM School. Tell us about that project and how you came up with the idea.

AA: I knew that I wanted to do something for the school because it is a younger school and I really wanted to play a role in that growth and be able to benefit students for many years to come. And I had a few different ideas for projects, but I was kind of unsure. I went to my school superintendent and I asked her what she thought that we needed. And she said, You're a student here. What do you think we need? And the primary idea that I liked the most was having outdoor seating for students.

JK: And so this would be for when classes were held outdoors on occasions?

AA: Yeah, it could be before school, after school for recess, for outdoor teaching. Just any time that we would have students to gather together and talk or learn. It as a bunch of different uses. Of course, maybe not right now. It didn't get a whole lot of use as of late, but it definitely will in the future.

JK: The design that you came up with looks pretty eclectic and pretty varied in seating levels. Tell us a little bit about what went into the design.

AA: When I was coming up with ideas for the design, I wanted it to be something that was really interesting, that was different. I've always been a little bit of a design nerd, if you will. I kind of liked the idea of multiple levels because it just really allowed to kind of break up with the boring flat landscapes surrounding it.

JK: You actually had a lot of people helping you out on this, correct?

AA: Correct. Total the project took over. Twelve hundred hours. There were 44 unique volunteers and there were seven different unique workdays that we had to work on the projects. It really wouldn't have been possible without every single one of the volunteers that came out and all of the businesses that chipped in, either with their resources, monetary donations, services.

JK: And did you actually actively campaigned for the support?

AA: I actively solicited donations from businesses. I went around to different businesses, you know, gave them my letters and told my story, told about how the project is needed by the students, what they can do to help, what all I need. I got a lot of no’s but also got a lot of yes’s so, I'd say in the end, it worked out pretty well.

JK: And what kind of response have you had from the students and the school faculty and other people who have seen it?

AA: All the responses have just been really positive and it's really awesome to see all the students using and enjoying it.

JK: How did you feel when you received notice of the award?

AA: Oh, I was totally shocked. It was a 100 percent a twist-ending - did not expect it. I was speechless. I just couldn't believe it. There are so many amazing projects out there. Last year, around 61000 Eagle Scouts earned their Eagle. And, of course, all of them had to do their project. Every single one of those projects has benefited their community in some way. So really, it's just amazing to be a part of this amazing class of eagles.

JK: Alex Arehart is a member of Troop 85 in Beavercreek. Alex, thanks so much. Congratulations on your award and we certainly appreciate talking to you today.

AA: Thank you.