Senior soccer player earns Eagle Scout rank

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Cunningham sits on his bench at the Wheatley Cemetery.

Daniel Nemer, Reporter

Upon a hidden hill in Richfield lies a small cemetery honoring the Wheatley family. Once barely known and crumbling, the cemetery is refurbished as sunlight shines through onto the freshly placed mulch around the graves. Walking up the hill a visitor sees a bench and informational sign describing the family. These new updates to the cemetery are all because of one Boy Scout, and now Eagle Scout, senior Ryan Cunningham. 

Cunningham demonstrates leadership skills through his experience as an Eagle Scout, along with his involvement in the Revere soccer program.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a long process that Cunningham underwent. The scout program begins in first grade, when boys join Cub Scouts. They transition into bigger leadership roles in fifth grade as Boy Scouts. Cunningham has been a scout since first grade. 

Cunningham’s family helped him throughout the Eagle Scout process. 

“My whole family supported me because all my grandpa’s brothers were also Eagle Scouts,” Cunningham said.

To become an Eagle Scout, one must complete a project that helps their community. Cunningham explained what he did for his Eagle Scout project and how it contributed to the community.

“I built a memorial bench and an informational sign at the Wheatley [Cemetery], because a couple of years ago, I did a renovation project at the Richfield Historical Society,” Cunningham said.

The Eagle Scout rank never goes away, and Cunningham will forever be a scout. Cunningham explained what this achievement means to him.

“It’s just something I’ll always have, and it doesn’t go away. I’ll always hold on to it for life,” Cunningham said.

Nick DePompei, the Varsity Revere High School soccer coach and counselor, helped Cunningham through the Eagle Scout process by writing him a letter of recommendation. He has known Cunningham since he joined the soccer team in eighth grade. 

Cunningham has played soccer all his life and plays goalkeeper for the Revere team. DePompei explained how Cunningham acts like a team player for Revere.

“He is a very talented player in the aspect that he’s actually been able to play both in the field and in the goal. We had a need for him to play goalkeeper and being the team player that he is, he really didn’t even ask twice about it, he  just did it,” DePompei said. 

This year Cunningham serves as one of three captains on the team. He contributes his leadership skills through warm ups, cool downs, and during the games. DePompei explained the role Cunningham has played as the goalkeeper on the team. 

“Last year, even though he wasn’t a captain, being the goalkeeper, he really led the team from the back and really [had] a big responsibility. . . because of his communication and his ability to connect with his teammates. He has a lot of respect from his teammates and his coaches. . .they respond well to him, so he brings a lot both mentally and athletically to the team,” DePompei said. 

Last year Cunningham broke the record at Revere for the fewest number of goals allowed in a season. He helped the team win the Suburban League Championship. This year the team won the Suburban League Championship for the second year in a row. 

Fellow soccer captain and senior Jaden Yankovitz explained how much Cunningham contributes to the soccer team from a player’s perspective. 

“He contributes a lot. On the field, he’s obviously a great goalkeeper, but off the field he’s a great leader. He’s very generous, he’s caring, and he puts others before himself,” Yankovitz said. 

Cunningham displays his leadership skills both athletically as captain and goalkeeper, and socially as an Eagle Scout. Cunningham is planning to celebrate his achievements as an Eagle Scout later this year, and his soccer team ended their season in the regional finals last week.