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About a year ago, Anthony Forrest was brainstorming ideas to complete his Eagle Scout rank with the Boy Scouts. Forrest, an honor-roll student and junior engineering major at North Point High School, joined the Scouts program when he was a second-grader at William B. Wade Elementary School. “I really wanted to try scouting and knew it was a good program and a lot of fun,” he said.
Coupled with his interest to explore scouting, Forrest also was interested in learning about leadership and community service. Fast forward about nine years and Forrest is working toward his Eagle Scout rank, the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts program. Eagle Scouts are required to complete an extensive service project from start to finish. Forrest wanted to find the perfect project to combine his love for community service with his passion for Boy Scouts. This led him to develop a beautification project at his former elementary school, Wade, where his scouting experience started.
“A teacher approached me about the idea and I thought it was great. Not only to do something for a school but perfect because I went to this school,” Forrest said. After talking with Wade Principal William Miller, Forrest took his vision and made it a reality.
The plan focused on renovating a courtyard area at the school to provide students and staff with outdoor learning space. The space was overrun by weeds, overgrown bushes, and grasses, and included worn wooden benches not suitable for use. “My vision was to see this space restored for outdoor classroom use… as a learning center for kids to study things like bugs and plant projects,” Miller said.
Forrest started to plan for the renovation project a year ago and planned to complete the updates in March 2020. “The project was planned for the second weekend in March,” Forrest said. What Forrest could not prepare for was the school closure mandate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He adjusted his plan and worked through COVID-19 restrictions. “I was finally able to complete the project in person the weekend before school started this year,” Forrest said.
On Aug. 28 and Aug. 30, Forrest was joined by fellow members of his troop, Troop 417 of Waldorf, and other volunteers to complete the project. The group removed bushes, grass, weeds, and sod, power washed the surrounding areas, replaced topsoil, laid mulch, and installed the wood benches, which Forrest had refinished.
Forrest said the cost of the project was about $1,500, all of which was paid by funds he raised as a scout. To save in other areas, volunteers who helped Forrest with the project provided tools for the group to use.
Miller said he could not be more pleased with the way the project turned out for Wade. “This area looks amazing and Anthony played a huge part in this. Our hope is that once students can return to school, the environmental and green clubs can meet here. I want to involve the kids and allow them to make this space their own. I hope to have them plant flowers and add to the garden,” Miller said.
In addition to a service project, Eagle Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges to be eligible for the rank. Forrest said he planned to receive his last two merit badges in October. Once he completes those badges, a coordinator will review his overall Eagle Scout submission.
Forrest plans to explore a career after high school in engineering or criminal justice. His interests include possibly joining the military or a career in special police forces. He also said he may like to lead his own Boy Scout troop someday. “When you look at former presidents or astronauts, several were Boy Scouts. For me, learning about leadership is the biggest thing. And just how to be a good citizen,” Forrest said.