Sean O'Neill - An Eagle Among Us

Thumbnail image for sean.jpgWhat do Neil Armstrong, Stephen Spielberg, Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Moore and SSU's Sean O'Neill all have in common?

Why, they're Eagle Scouts of course.

O'Neill, a freshman majoring in Criminal Justice Studies, has attained the Boy Scouts' highest rank of Eagle Scout. A 2010 graduate of Calistoga Junior-Senior High in Napa County, O'Neill will be celebrated at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor on November 27, where he will formally receive his Eagle Scout badge along with other awards and commendations. He recently took the time to answer questions about this outstanding achievement and his journey to becoming an Eagle Scout.

Q: How long have you been with the Boy Scouts of America, and how did you first become involved?

A: I have been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for seven years now. I first became involved when my older brother became an Eagle Scout and he then became my role model for myself.

Q: What troop are you affiliated with?

A: I am a part of the BSA Troop 18 from Calistoga, California.

Q: Was it always your goal to make the rank of Eagle Scout? Were there obstacles to overcome / times when you thought you might not achieve your goal?

A: It was my goal since I was 11 to attain the rank of Eagle Scout because I had watched my brother become an Eagle Scout and that is when I realized that I wanted to be one too; not just because it was cool, but because the high honor you receive in important in making a difference in your community. There were times when I thought I wouldn't make it because once you turn 18, you can't be a Boy Scout anymore and when I was 16 and a half, I needed a lot of work to get done, but I had thought what it would really mean to me to be an Eagle Scout and I kept working and achieved my goal.

Q: What was your service project (a required component of becoming an Eagle Scout)?

A: My Leadership project was repainting fire hydrants around my town. It took about 3 months of preparation and only 1 day of the actual work. I needed to get a lot of signatures and obtain all the tools I needed to get the job done. At the end of the day, we had repainted 27 fire hydrants around Calistoga.

Q: Have you been presented with your badge and certificates yet?

A: I have yet to have my Court of Honor. It is on November 27. Even though it is a month away, I already feel nervous. The ceremony is all about you and your achievement, and people telling stories about their times with you. You receive proclamations, commendation letters, and different special awards that are about you and your seven years of community service. During my seven years as a Boy Scout, I completed 243 community service hours. That is the most we have ever had in our local Troop. Even though I am an Eagle Scout, I don't feel relieved. I still feel like devoting part of my life to community service and to the Boy Scouts of America, because that is what I have done. Helping others is a part of who I am.

Q: How does being a Scout affect your life? How do you think being an Eagle Scout will affect your life?

A: Being a Boy Scout affected my life tremendously. The Boy Scout Law and Oath have always played a part in my life. Some boys don't take it seriously, but if you really have the passion to love your community and be devoted to community service, you know that you are a Boy Scout. I started playing the trumpet in junior high and did so all through high school. That helped in Boy Scouts because we always needed someone to play Taps at the Memorial and Veterans Day Services. Now that I am an Eagle Scout, I already know it will affect my life in a great way. Knowing that you made a difference in your community, and achieving this high honor, is a good feeling.

Q: What are your plans for the future, including your time here at Sonoma State University?

A: My future plans are to keep attending SSU, get my BA in Criminal Justice, and go on to be a law enforcement officer like my father and brother. I don't know where I would like to work, but it would be nice to work close to home. I had always wanted to be like my dad, but when I entered junior high, it was the era when kids started hating the police and saying they're stupid. That peer pressure got me down and my hopes of being a police officer stopped. After that, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. But now in college I am free to express myself, and am back on the track to being what I want most.

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