Locke becomes Eagle Scout

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Riley Locke, 16, became an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America during a ceremony on March 19 at Clanton First United Methodist Church.

Locke has been a member of the Boy Scouts since he first joined as a Tiger scout in first grade. He is the senior patrol leader of Troop 57.

The rank of Eagle Scout must be achieved prior to turning 18 years old. It is the highest honor that can be earned within the Boy Scouts of America.

“It was a big relief,” Locke said. “Now I can just focus on helping the younger kids and the fun stuff that goes along with that.”

To become an Eagle Scout, 21 merit badges must be earned and a final community related service project must be completed.

Locke’s project involved clearing out the shrubbery that spelled out C-C-H-S on the hill behind one of the end zones at the football field.

He presented the idea of replacing the shrubs with stones to the school, as an alternative means of spelling out the school’s initials.

Locke officially became an Eagle Scout during a ceremony on March 19 in front of friends and family at Clanton First United Methodist Church. (Contributed photo)

“Dr. [Cynthia] Stewart was on board and we started in about July and finished before the Jemison game [first home game],” Locke said.

It was a lengthy process in both the preparation and completion of the project.

According to Locke, the stones should require less maintenance and upkeep compared to the shrubs.

“I wanted to do something with the school, that would have a lasting impact,” Locke said.

Locke realizes that the project could not have been done without the support of several people. The rocks were donated by a quarry in Calera, while the CCHS Gridiron Club and fellow community members came out to assist.

Locke’s family and friends filled the gymnasium at Clanton First United Methodist Church for the ceremony, along with his parents David and Kimiera Locke.

“It was a humbling experience, and I was proud of being able to get to this finish line,” Locke said.

During the ceremony, letters of congratulations from the likes of Bill Gates and NASA lined up along a table, reminding of the importance of the occasion.

Judge Chris Speaks and State Representative Jimmy Martin were each on hand to say something and present Locke with a memento to commemorate his achievement.

Locke looks forward to enjoying the rest of his time within the organization and encourages other kids to give the Boy Scouts a try.

“Stay motivated, because it is worth it in the end,” Locke said. “It shows that you have the work ethic to get through anything.”