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Junior First: Learning to serve

Elisha Valladares-Cormier
Elisha Valladares-Cormier

By Vince Teresi  

Mount Angel 2015 Junior First Citizen Elisha Valladares-Cormier says he is happiest when he is busy. Looking at his long list of activities, it’s easy to see Elisha must be very happy. He is ever-energetic in his services both to the community and Kennedy High School.

Elisha, a respected, exuberant and industrious young leader, was born in San Salvador, capitol of El Salvador. The oldest of seven children, he grew up in California’s Bay Area, moving to Silverton a year ago.

Elisha joined the Boy Scouts of America at age six as a Tiger Scout. He has served in numerous leadership positions, currently as junior assistant scout master for Troop 485 in Silverton. He earned his Eagle Scout rank last year and attended National Youth Leadership Training. Elisha is a member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s ‘National Honor Society.’

It was his experience in Scouting that lead him to pick his personal motto: “If service is below you, then leadership is beyond you.”

As an Eagle Scout, the Kennedy student body president had a busy summer, staffing at his former Scout summer camp in California for several weeks. He then traveled to Michigan to join a communications team which entailed the production of the daily newspaper for 15,000 attendees of the National Order of the Arrow Conference which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

He was surprised when Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce member Nann Fleck announced he won the award.

“I am honored the chamber of commerce selected me as Junior First Citizen,” Elisha said. “I hope that I can give the title justice. This honor has even greater meaning for me, as its announcement  came exactly one year to the day that I first stepped foot into Kennedy High, which is a testament to the opportunities that Mount Angel has to offer young people.”

The affable teenager enjoys his Economics and College English classes at Kennedy. Career-wise, he has a particular passion for sports writing. However, he is also proficient in other areas of writing. Recently, he had articles published in the Catholic Sentinel newspaper concerning the impact of social media and technology on one’s faith. He received the Daughters of American Revolution Good Citizenship Award from the Belle Passe, Woodburn chapter.

Academically, Elisha is an honor roll student with a grade point average of 3.75 and a member of the National Honor Society. With an eye on the future, he also is considering the career in the ministry.

“If I decide to go down that road, I will apply to be a priest in my old diocese of Santa Rosa, Calif.,” he said.

He keeps busy outside of academics, too.  He is a member of the national communications team for the Order of the Arrow and a part of the Venturing, BSA Area 1 Communications Committee, while also continuing to contribute to the Catholic Sentinel.  He also is busy maintaining his senior project, which was to create Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram social media accounts for Kennedy.

Elisha is a Kennedy baseball player.

“I am a huge baseball fan, especially the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees. I attended a Yankee game in 2013 which went 18 innings and kept score every pitch,” he said. “As a new Eagle Scout, I received a personal letter from eight-time All-Star Bobby Richardson who included an autographed picture of him with Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford.”

Elisha has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, as his peers will testify. “I enjoy keeping my mind alert by having people ask who won the World Series in any given year.” His favorite quote is one from newspaper columnist George Will: “They say baseball is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona!”

His father, Edilberto Valladares, is the Spanish teacher at Kennedy High.

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