Trail to Eagle: New Eagle reflects on scouting, academic journey

August 2018 Posted in Community, People

Jonathan Valladares’ family. Back, left: Father, Edilberto; brother Joshua; Jonathan; older-brother Elisha; sister Isabel; mother Michelle.  Front: Siblings, Maria, Sarah and Benjamin.

By Vince Teresi

Silverton resident Jonathan Valladares reached the highest rank of scouting, earning his Eagle Scout designation, and was recognized for the accomplishment during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, July 21 at St. Paul Catholic Church. He was presented the Eagle Scout badge by Troop 485 Scoutmaster Steve Potter, who reviewed highlights of Jonathan’s 12-year scouting career during the ceremony. Valladares began his “Trail to Eagle” as a six-year-old Cub Scout.

Jonathan is a 2018 valedictorian graduate of John F. Kennedy High School in Mount Angel and was selected as “Senior Boy of the Year.” His leadership skills were recognized by the Boy Scouts of America organization in the awarding of the Eagle Scout rank.

He amassed many Merit Badges along his way to achieving the Eagle ranking – a goal he set as a youngster. Dedication to duty eventually produced the distinguished Scout recognition.

“Being a member of the Boys Scouts of America has been one of the most important experiences of my life,” Jonathan said at the ceremony. “The organization taught me much more than the physical skills of fire-burning, knot-tying, and wilderness survival. I learned perseverance, leadership, and good citizenship.”

Looking back at the numerous requirements involved in attaining the needed Merit Badges, Jonathan said, “The lessons I learned while completing those requirements are ongoing, helping me to grow as a person and prepare myself for my journey through life.”

He added, “As a first-year Scout, I was extremely quiet. But as my career progressed, I was placed in new leadership roles. That forced me out of my comfort level and to challenge myself. I have called a flag ceremony in front of an entire summer camp, taught knot-tying and fire-building to kids from inner-city Oakland, California, and coordinated events that forced me to interact with complete strangers. These are all things that I never would have thought possible when I began Scouting.”

Jonathan also remembers many great times along his “Trail to Eagle.” However, he admitted, “Many of the important things I learned in Scouting came from times when I did not enjoy myself. In order to grow, you have to challenge yourself, which is not always the most enjoyable experience. Good experiences create good memories. But the most important experiences leave behind lessons about life.

“The experiences I had in Scouting were only temporary, but the lessons I learned will stay with me forever.”

Jonathan also performed well during his years at Kennedy High where he excelled in advanced-placement courses and earned a 4.0 grade point average, Honors Diploma, and Oregon State Seal of Bi-Literacy.

At Kennedy, his favorite memories include his days playing on the varsity baseball team. His skill as a first-baseman resulted in First Team All-League honors, and he enjoyed the opportunity of playing in the state semifinal game. As a pitcher, Jonathan remembers the excitement of “throwing a complete game, 14-strikeout shutout against Scio!”

He was surprised on Kennedy High’s Senior Awards Night.

“I really hadn’t come into the Awards Night expecting to receive anything. So, I was really surprised when I ended up receiving several department academic awards and community scholarships…plus the  Senior Boy of Year award,” he said.

He may have been surprised, the audience wasn’t. His signature virtue of humility was well-recognized by fellow students, coaches and staff at Kennedy High.

This fall, Jonathan plans to attend Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where he will join his older brother Elisha.

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