Michael Nicholas III, winner of the MPA Principal’s Award at Erskine Academy in South China, stands recently at the school’s lacrosse field. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

CHELSEA — Michael Nicholas III will soon be moving from his rural Maine home in Chelsea to Boston.

He hopes to attend Northeastern University, which he knows would be quite a change from Kennebec County.

“It’s one of the things I’m most excited for,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot to do here or opportunities in rural Maine, like in the city. I’m excited to meet more people, but it’s hard to pick something specifically. I think I’m ready to leave the nest.”

Nicholas is Erskine Academy’s recipient of the Maine Principals’ Association Principal’s Award. Students are chosen for the award based on their academic success and outstanding character and citizenship.

Nicholas said he plans to study chemical or biomedical engineering.

“Ever since I realized what an engineer was, I wanted to do it,” he said. “I want to solve problems and make real-world solutions.”

He said he is excited about moving to the city, but wonders how it will be to go from his small school to a large university. His elementary school had about 24 students in his class, and his graduating class at Erskine Academy in South China has about 140 students.

Michael Nicholas III, winner of the MPA Principal’s Award at Erskine Academy in South China, stands recently at the school’s lacrosse field. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

At Erskine, Nicholas played basketball, lacrosse and, this year, golf. He is also a member of the National Honor Society and student council.

He said he hopes to play intramural sports, including basketball, and be involved in academic research at Northeastern.

Nicholas said a little-known fact about himself is he went vegan for two years after watching “What the Health?” on Netflix. He said he became accustomed to it until one day asking himself, “Why am I still doing this?”

“I really missed being able to eat anything I wanted,” he said.

As part of student council, Nicholas said he and other members tried this year to make things seems “more normal.” Nicholas said Erskine Academy continued the tradition of having the Winter Carnival, a weeklong event offering games for all grades. The event, held outdoors, was a success, he said.

“It was really great to at least have half of the school in the same place for the first time in a while,” he said. “It just felt right again.”

Although Nicholas said he is excited to attend a university in a large city, he will miss the people and small community, “where everyone knows each other.”

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