Earning the Eagle

Senior James Butler earned his Eagle Scout earlier this month and was invited to Chair Phyllis Randall’s State of the County Address to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Only 6% of Boy Scouts have earned their rank of Eagle Scout, making that only two million of the 110 million of Boy Scouts since the start of the organization in 1910. Of that number, only 0.5% of them are African American. Graduating senior James Butler is now a part of that small-scale statistic as he just finished his Eagle Scout earlier this month after eleven years being a Boy Scout and a long journey of planning, filling out paperwork, and most importantly, executing his plan. 

Butler officially began to start his Eagle Scout project in his junior year of high school, but he was faced with adversities from the start. Butler tore his ACL and meniscus during the spring of eleventh grade from playing flag football. “It was a long stretch to heal it, but I made it through, and I feel like it made me stronger mentally,” said Butler. Though these injuries were rough on Butler, they influenced his final Eagle Scout project plan: building a bench at Algonkian Elementary. “I wanted kids to be comfortable just like how I want to,” said Butler. 

In total, Butler spent two months building his bench. “I had to get through a lot of paperwork and approval, but I’m just rejuvenated that it all worked out,” said Butler. Finally on May 2, 2023, Butler earned his Eagle Rank in Troop 966.

Following his new rank, Chair At-Large of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Phyllis Randall, invited Butler to her 8th Annual State of the County Address which was located at the Loudoun County Government Center on May 24. “I felt honored. It was like, ‘out of all people, she picked me,’” said Butler. 

At the address, Randall discussed the issues and the successes of Loudoun County, as well as recognizing outstanding Loudoun County residents such as Butler. Butler was invited on stage to recite the pledge of allegiance in his Boy Scout uniform. “I take the pledge of allegiance very seriously, so I put a lot of thought into who I want to give my pledge of allegiance at the State of the County Address,” said Randall. During her speech, Randall went on to explain the statistics of Boys Scouts and the miniscule amount that those Eagle Scouts are people of color. “One of the things he [Butler]  wants to do is to encourage more people of color to get into scouting. I love that; I love that idea,” said Randall. 

Butler graduates in just under a week from Potomac Falls and is headed off to Virginia Union University, a historically African American university located in Richmond, VA. There, Butler will major in cybersecurity. “I want to be able to protect anyone’s data with cyber security. In this generation, one simple code is a dangerous weapon now and it’s used to harm people’s data,” said Butler. 

Butler will also be on VUU’s drumline as an Ambassador of Sound and was consequently awarded a full scholarship. “Since I’ve been doing drumline at Potomac Falls, I figured it was a good idea for me to carry my talents to VUU,” said Butler. 

An already hard accomplishment to make, Butler finished his Eagle Scout through personal adversities and statistics. “I feel rare to be honest, but it feels good knowing I made the significance of being that 0.5%,” said Butler.