By Debbie Adams
Emiliano Gonzalez received Scouting’s highest honor by advancing to the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor ceremony at South Roanoke United Methodist Church on May 2. Emiliano is a member of Troop 210. He is the son of Maria and Francisco Gonzalez of Bonsack.
Emiliano is a senior at William Byrd High School and the Burton Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT). He has been a scout since first grade when he joined as a Tiger Cub Scout, and now, 12 years later, he has passed all the requirements for becoming an Eagle Scout.
Emiliano was awarded his Eagle Badge, surrounded by family, friends, and fellow scouts. The Eagle Scout Court of Honor is a prestigious and memorable event– often referred to as Scouting’s “finest moment.”
The Master of Ceremonies for the ceremony was Taylor Richardson, who has been Emiliano’s scout leader for all 12 years, first as Cubmaster in Pack 1, and then his Scoutmaster after he earned the Arrow of Light and crossed over to Troop 210.
Richardson noted that only about four percent of those who enter Scouting eventually earn the rank of Eagle Scout. In 1911 the Boy Scouts of America chose the eagle to symbolize the very highest in achievement—Scouting’s best. The Eagle Scout rank is a title held for life.
The Eagle Scout ceremony on May 2 opened with bugler Eli Richardson, presentation of the Colors by the Honor Guard, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, a prayer, and a reminder of the steps of the journey from new Scout to Eagle—all led by the Scouts.
During an Eagle Scout ceremony, Scout leaders review the candidate’s scouting history from induction to the Eagle Scout rank, stressing his growth in the ideals of scouting and share anecdotes about his journey in words, pictures, and videos.
Over his journey, Emiliano has earned dozens of merit badges and performed over 100 hours of community service. He has held almost every position of leadership in his troop.
However, becoming an Eagle Scout involves not just earning merit badges, but demonstrating Scout spirit, leadership, and service, culminating with an Eagle Scout project. Projects are meant to be lasting, to benefit the community, and to encourage leadership experience for the scout involved.
Emiliano’s project was to build and install an information kiosk at Bonsack Park, next to his elementary school– Bonsack Elementary– and two wooden benches for Roanoke Parks and Recreation. His goal was to give back to the school which had given much to him.
He described to those in attendance the procedures he followed in designing the project and in leading his fellow scouts to help build it. Richardson noted Emiliano’s great attention to detail– even taking the original drawings and redoing them in the CAD system to be more precise.
Richardson urged Emiliano to be cognizant of all those who interacted with him along his journey. He praised Emiliano for his leadership skills which “changed the trajectory of the troop.”
Scout leader Dr. Andrew Sherman reminded Emiliano that he has attained the Eagle Scout rank because he acted, and his parents acted. “Scouting has given you a tremendous foundation,” he said, in encouraging him to have a “bias for action” throughout his life.
Dr. Marcus Speaker reminded him that attaining the rank of Eagle Scout bestows not just honor, but responsibility— “Once an Eagle; always an Eagle.” Speaker, too, reminded Emiliano that while the Scouting journey was his, “you did not accomplish it alone. As you go forward, help others and become a lifelong leader.”
As part of the Eagle Scout ceremony, scouts present a Mentor pin to someone who has been instrumental in their advancement in life and in Scouting. Emiliano presented his Mentor pin to Scoutmaster Richardson, who taught him how to be a leader.
In addition to Richardson, Emiliano thanked his father, Scott Moore, Sherman, Speaker, Dick Hancock, and Julie and Lucas Snipes for making a “significant difference in my scouting journey through Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.”
Several adult scout leaders spoke about the responsibilities of an Eagle Scout, listing them one by one: live with honor, be loyal, be courageous, always be cheerful, and contribute to the world through service.
Scout leader Dick Hancock gave the Eagle Charge to Emiliano who repeated the Eagle Scout Oath: “I reaffirm my allegiance to the three promises of the Scout Oath. I thoughtfully recognize and take upon myself the obligations and responsibilities of an Eagle Scout. On my honor I will do my best to make my training and example, my rank and my influence count strongly for better Scouting and for better citizenship in my Troop, in my community, and in my contacts with other people. To this I pledge my sacred honor.”
In the final moments of the ceremony, Emiliano presented a Mother’s Pin to his mother and an Eagle lapel pin to his father. His mother pinned on his Eagle Badge, while his father presented him with the Eagle Scout certificate.
Earlier this year, Emiliano was recognized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States as “Eagle Scout of the Year” and awarded a Good Citizenship Citation from the American Legion. He has received numerous awards at BCAT, both local and national.
Emiliano will be continuing his education at Georgia Tech next fall, studying materials science engineering.