On Saturday, August 26, Pearson Middle School gifted student Raphael Archangel Le completed and unveiled his Eagle Scout project. Raphael and several of his fellow scouts from Troop 204 installed two Small Community Libraries (SCL) at Fair Oaks Park in Marietta. One is designed for children and disabled citizens, and the other is for adult readers.
The SCLs were installed at the entrance to the community garden at the back of the park, and Raphael hopes they will support and promote a love of reading in the community. “Reading can open doors to a better world and brighter future for everyone,” the future Eagle Scout said. “A literate community will be a very loving one as each cares and supports one another.”
Pearson Principal Dean Yoder was on hand for the unveiling ceremony, as was Vice Principal Dr. Mitchell Askew. Several Cobb County Commissioners and Fair Oaks Park officials were also in attendance to get the first glimpses of the SCLs and to celebrate and congratulate Raphael for a job well done.
“Raphael has been with me since sixth grade,” said Principal Yoder, “he’s a very dedicated and determined young man. He’s the type of student who, when he has a goal, his focus is clearly on it. Whatever he decides to do, he puts all of his effort into it and achieves at a very high level.”
As one example of this focus and high-level achievement, there are 21 required merit badges to fulfill the requirements for Eagle Scout; Raphael has earned 66 since crossing over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts a little over two years ago. He is currently a Life Scout, but with his project and merit badge work behind him, all that remains is his Board of Review.
Raphael designed, built, and painted the SCLs in his home and brought them to Fair Oaks for installation. He also collected over 500 books from various donors that he will use to keep the little libraries stocked. He plans to replenish them each week with new titles across many topics. He tracks his inventory with an Excel spreadsheet that he created.
“Ever since I was born, my parents kept reading books to me,” Raphael said about his own love for reading and books. “They read to me all the time, not just before bedtime, but during the family’s playtime and at the wait of every car wash or between soccer games. From there, I developed a love and passion for reading. I believe reading is one of the most important skills a person must have; it is a gateway to learning, exploring, and growing as a person.”
In addition to his scouting responsibilities and studies in the gifted program at Pearson, Raphael competes for the Smyrna Basketball Association and swims for the Stingrays, one of the most prestigious swim clubs in the nation. For high school next year, he wants to continue his education at a magnet school that focuses on math, science, or healthcare.
“Reading helps a person to succeed in school, work, and life by enabling that person to access a breadth and depth of knowledge and information,” Raphael said. “It is a fun and rewarding activity that can open doors to all kinds of new worlds for all.”
Well done, Raphael and Troop 204! We know great things are ahead for you. Your positive attitude and strong work ethic will serve you well as you become an Eagle Scout and beyond...