Five questions with Science Hill Eagle Scout who plays bagpipes, hopes to join the Army

Jonathan Roberts • Sep 29, 2019 at 5:26 PM

A bagpipe player who enjoys classical music and commands the Science Hill High School JROTC and marksmanship team, Michael Poole isn’t your everyday high school senior.

And if that wasn’t enough, Poole already has plans after he graduates in May. To start, he’s hoping to enroll at East Tennessee State University and pursue a degree in criminal justice — and join the ROTC program. After that, Poole hopes to join the Army and become a paratrooper, with his eyes on joining the 82nd Airborne.

And, to top it off, Poole earned the Boy Scouts of America’s highest advancement award, getting the title Eagle Scout this month.

Poole briefly:

Favorite Tri-Cities restaurant: 7 Hermanos, Cheddar’s

Favorite food: Pal’s patty melt

Cats or dogs: Cats

Favorite class: Carpentry/woodworking

Favorite music genre: “Anything before the 1990s.”

How does it feel to be an Eagle Scout and lead your peers at Science Hill?

It gives me a tremendous amount of pride, but it also makes me realize that I’ve been entrusted with certain tasks that I can mess up very easily, so I have to do those to the best of my ability. It puts more of a responsibility-type aura around it.

Why is it important for you to serve in some form or another?

Mainly, it comes from when I was little, and I was picked on quite a bit. Nobody really helped me out, and it was a pretty hopeless situation. When I finally learned to stick up for myself and defend myself, I realized that maybe I could help other people get out of those situations. I feel I could do that to greater effect in the military.

How much of an impact do you think those experiences had on your life?

I would say it had all the way a positive affect. I don't think there’s really anything negative about it; it toughened me up. I also feel that God has blessed me with the ability to feel the pain of other people, and gave me the ability to empathize with them. I believe being allowed to go through that made me a much better person.

How did you get into playing bagpipes?

At about the end of seventh grade, a gentleman from my church — who’s a mentor to me — came by and dropped off a set of bagpipes that didn’t work and said ‘play these at my funeral.’ I said ‘I don’t know how to play them’ and he told me I better learn. I couldn’t figure out how to get them working, but I found somebody in Kingsport who could, and I’ve been playing them ever since.

What are some of your hobbies?

I’m a woodworker, I do a form of art called intarsia — I guess you’d kind of liken it to stained glass with wood — and I do a bit of highland games weight throwing. Marksmanship for school is one, and just kind of fixing things in general. I like to fix things if they’re broken or make them better.

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