James Plotner achieves Eagle Scout Award

“Be prepared”—and manage your time well!

By Jim Nowlan
[email protected]

James Plotner


Recent Stark County High graduate James Plotner has been busier than a cranberry merchant at holiday time, earning the prestigious Eagle Scout Award, participating in just about all school activities, and working at McDonald’s in Kewanee.

How has he done it all, The News asked James this past week?

“You have to be aware of your schedule” James says, “and be disciplined to set aside time in the day to accomplish each task. You have to stay on your toes.”

“Time management” they call it in business school, and James clearly knows how to do it.

James notched the following in school: a lead in the spring musical, student council, scholastic bowl (regional and conference champs this year); wide receiver and defensive back on the state football finals team a couple of years back; tenor saxophone in the band and baritone in the chorus.

And oh, by the way, James was valedictorian this year.

And is a member of the Toulon Fire Department.

In addition, since 2010 James has been meeting every Monday evening with the Toulon-Wyoming Boy Scout Troop. In that time, James amassed 33 merit badges and fulfilled all requirements for the Eagle Scout Award, which will be bestowed on him in the proper ceremony in the near future.

James just returned from his summer job as a Boy Scout leader at a camp near Danville.

Parents, grandfather big positive influences

“My parents (Jeff and Brenda Plotner, of Toulon) have been strict about making me finish anything I started,” notes James. “For example, I went out for summer baseball and didn’t like it much, but my folks made me finish what I started!”

“My grandfather Terry Mauer, of Knoxville, has been my biggest influence in scouting,” adds James.
“He is on the Eagle Board (which interviews and passes on candidates) and is still active, so I really wanted to become an Eagle Scout for him.”

Only one or two out of a hundred scouts becomes an Eagle Scout. Colleges and businesses automatically bump up an Eagle Scout in their evaluations when they see that honor on a resume.

James also credits Scoutmaster James Crowley, of Wyoming, as a big factor in his scouting.

“Mr. Crowley kept me motivated and on track,” says James.

“Scouting has been a life-changer for me. It instills discipline, the importance of being well-prepared and of being helpful to one’s community.”

James will attend Black Hawk College-East Campus on a full-tuition scholarship and then transfer to Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville to study kinesiology.

James says SIU-E has an excellent, accelerated program, and the tuition is “cheap.”

James Plotner is front left as Burt the Chimney Sweep in the Stark County High School production of “Mary Poppins” last spring.


This Eagle Scout broke a collarbone a few years back and had a less than satisfactory experience in his rehabilitation. This perked in James a strong interest in the human body and its well-being, which is what kinesiology is all about, as in physical therapy, sports medicine and physical training.

This writer thinks James Plotner is destined for success. He has shown that he thinks ahead, manages his time effectively, and cares about others. That’s a great platform for achievement.

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