Look around yourself today at the people who surround you. Most just blend into the crowd of the “status quo.” They talk the same, walk the same and even dress in the same styles. But every once in a while you’ll see that one person who stands out from the others. The person who doesn’t care what everyone else thinks and who’s not afraid to step out of the norm.
When walking across the Castleton campus, you see sidewalks littered with people slowly strolling to class just wrapped up in the routine. Many of the students who pass by either look overtired, hung-over, or wishing they were somewhere else.
Then suddenly a strange blur of an object appears in the distance. Running out of the Fine Arts Center, the object starts taking the form of a young man. His arms are swinging and his backpack strapped to his shoulders bounces with every stride.
You have just witnessed the young man known by most on campus only as Powerhouse.
Powerhouse, whose real name is Nicholas Soares, is a 21-year-old junior at Castleton. Originally from Randolph, Vt., Powerhouse is the oldest of three siblings and has been living in the Ellis dorm for three years now.
Nicknamed by student Eric Jipner, Powerhouse has practically become an icon on campus.
“Eric had a roommate named Nick already, so using my real name would have been confusing,” Powerhouse said. “He thought I was too small and I needed to get jacked.”
Jipner, who no longer attends CSC, gave Soares the nickname during their freshman year and it quickly spread like wildfire among students, teachers, and faculty.
Three years later, the question isn’t who knows Powerhouse, but who doesn’t?
A life of Studying
It’s no secret that many students come to Castleton and get involved in the drinking and drugging party scene — but not Powerhouse. He doesn’t drink and doesn’t smoke. Instead, he enjoys studying and reading.
When asked how many hours a day he spends studying, Powerhouse said, “Everyday is different. I’d say six to eight hours, maybe even more sometimes.”
His study habits illustrate just how important learning is to this unique student. Jasmin Averbuck is a community advisor who lives in Ellis Hall and has known Powerhouse since she arrived last year.
“He’s able to store a lot of information,” she said with a smile. “He’s really smart and he runs very fast.”
Most say it’s hard to not catch Powerhouse running around on campus.
“I enjoy running,” said Powerhouse. “I um, well I like to run for exercise because sometimes I don’t get myself to go to the gym. It gets me places faster . it’s become sort of a habit.”
During an interview, other Ellis dorm mates jumped into the conversation joking about how when they see Powerhouse, they yell “there goes Powerhouse!”
One of his passions is working with the theater department. His boss, Technical Director Chad Voghell, had nothing but positive things to say about him.
“Nic has worked for me for the past two years and is a wonderful addition to our stage crew,” Voghell said. “He is hard working, quick, always on time and a joy to work with.”
He then reminisced about the first impression Powerhouse left on him and the crew.
“One show in particular we were working in Glenbrook and we needed something from the FAC. Nic said he could run and get it, but the show was beginning soon. He took off and returned with the item in seven minutes. The crew had timed him,” Voghell said.
A friend of Powerhouse, Andrew Donovan, who was involved with the play “You Can’t Take It With You,” marveled at his friend’s intelligence.
“He’s intellectual and always knows what he’s talking about,” Donovan said
Ethan Garhartt, another friend who lives in Ellis, said he just enjoys being around him.
“Powerhouse is a locomotive. He’s long lasting, efficient, and knows where he’s going,” said Garhartt.
“He’s very energetic,” added Donovan. “He’s even up for break dancing at two in the morning.”
Powerhouse took 19 credits last semester.
“The least amount of credits I’ve taken is 16,” he said.
He is trying to get a double degree with two majors in history and American literature.
He has also been involved in several groups and organizations including the Literary Club, History of Politics club, ‘Big Love’ (a school play), intramural volleyball and basketball, Total Back Stage Access, Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society, Castleton’s Honors program and Phi Alpha Beta History Honors Society.
He also finds the time to help tutor students in writing during what little spare time he has.
“At college, my hobbies are mostly hanging out with people. I sometimes enjoy politics, and looking up stuff on youtube.com. I like checking out things like Bush making a fool of himself,” he said.
Above his computer in his room, Powerhouse has a calendar called “the out of office countdown.” His face showed disgust as he started flipping through the months reading off quotes and mocking President Bush.
When asked prior to the election who he was voting for he said, “look at the pin on my fleece,” pointing to an Obama pin.
He whispers, “It says on the ballot you can’t influence anyone.”
With all of his studying and involvement with the school, Powerhouse said he hopes one day to be a doctor of history.
“I’m definitely aiming for my doctorate,” he said. “I have to get plenty of education before doing that.”
Keep on Belize’n!
In April of last year year, Powerhouse and the rest of his Collapse of a Civilization class members, got on a plane and traveled to Belize. After a day of traveling, they landed in Belize City where they took tours and went to the zoo.
“It was very fun,” he said. “Seeing the animals themselves was very interesting. My favorite part was at the beginning when I got to hold a snake. I was first to volunteer because I’m crazy like that.”
Powerhouse stands in his room pointing to a poster his mother made about Belize right before he came back to school. On the poster were pictures of birds, mountains, ruins and also a picture of Powerhouse holding a boa constrictor.
Then, speaking with his hands, his excitement soars as he describes jumping off a 30-foot cliff.
“I jumped three times!” said Powerhouse. “I was afraid a little bit. It was definitely an adrenaline rush.”
Myles Mickle, one of his roommates in Belize, said he enjoyed spending time with Powerhouse there.
“When you first meet him, you don’t really know what to think,” said Mickle. “He’s the most competitive kid I know. He just looks at things in different ways, I can’t really explain it.”
Powerhouse and his class also went spelunking, a type of cave diving, and exploring different ruins.
“I had fun socially. It was amazing to see the ruins,” he said. “Overall it was an awesome experience.”
When asked what he thinks of his nickname, Powerhouse said, “I appreciate it. It’s like a second name. It’s not used as an insult, it’s just my name.”
Powerhouse’s neighbor, Charles DePeyster, enters the dorm room.
“He may not look like a big kid, but he’s got a lot of power and endurance,” said Charles. “I wouldn’t want to fight’em.