Eagle Scout paints U.S. map at Noble

Dylan Polley with his completed map. Photo by Jared Polley.

Students at Noble Elementary School can walk along the California coastline during recess. They can run from Maine to Washington State, and hop from the islands of Hawaii all the way to Alaska—all thanks to Heights High graduate and Noble alumnus Dylan Polley, who painted a map of the United States on the Noble playground for his Eagle Scout project this spring.

Working over the course of several days in April, Polley organized a team of family and friends to help with the project, which was intended to show his leadership skills.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank of scouting, with only 6 percent of those involved in Boy Scouts ever achieving the honor. The final project requires a scout to “plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school or your community,” according to the Boy Scouts of America website.

Polley was partly inspired to paint the map by his youngest brother, Nicolas, who just finished first grade at Noble. “This is my community, and I know Principal Coleman from when I went here,” said Polley. “Plus, I want these kids to be able to learn the states without just sitting behind a desk. Now they can run across the country on a nice day.”

Finding a nice day to complete his project proved a bit of a challenge for Polley and his team. Because he had to finish before his 18th birthday in early May, and because spring was cold and wet, he had only three days to actually work. He rounded up family and friends, including his mother, Adele, and brother, Jared, who recently finished his sophomore year at Heights High and who will work toward his own Eagle Scout status next year.

“Between baseball season, finals, prom and graduation, I’m honestly just glad I got it done,” said Polley, who plans to study computer science at Kent State University in the fall.

He received some donated materials from Home Depot and relied on contributions for the rest of his purchases, which included 37 giant stencils that had to be carefully placed side by side on the playground. The final product is bright and colorful and can’t be missed.

“It was like a trip down Memory Lane to come back here,” Polley said. “I walked in the building and saw Noble Knights painted on the wall, which used to be our mascot before we all became Tigers.”

Polley has participated in Boy Scouts for years, working his way up through the ranks in Troop 585. “I wanted to become an Eagle Scout to show people what I’m capable of. If anyone ever doubts my work ethic, I can point to this,” he said.

His parents are immensely proud of their son’s commitment to scouting. His mother, who put in many hours helping her son finish the project, said “[I] was amazed at his determination to do this for Noble school. I see the kids and parents loving it. And I see how proud Dylan is whenever we visit [the map] or speak about it.”

Nicolas is proud, too. “I think it’s amazing that my brother did this,” he said, pointing out the map to his classmates. While the 7-year-old struggled to identify specific states, he knew exactly who to thank for leaving such a colorful and lasting mark on his school playground. 

Krissy Dietrich Gallagher

Krissy Dietrich Gallagher, a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights, is a former district teacher and a freelance journalist under contract with the CH-UH City School District. A longer version of this article appeared at www.chuh.org.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 2:31 PM, 06.28.2018