Ironton Boy Scout aims high — and is making it

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Neil Armstrong did it. Steven Spielberg did it. Bill Bradley did it. And now MacLean James is trying to do it.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is an honor few people accomplish. In fact, only 2 percent of Boy Scouts make it to the level of Eagle Scout.

MacLean, a senior at St. Joseph High School in Ironton, is in his 12th year of Scouting and has benefited immensely from the scouting program. He is in Troop 109.

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“It’s taught me a lot,” MacLean said. “One of the more major things it has taught me is about leadership.” He said he has been in a position of leadership for most of his Boy Scout career, leading younger children.

MacLean is working on his final project to fulfill his Eagle Scout requirements and then the final task.

“I have to complete this project and then I have to go through a board of review, a board of higher up people in Scouts that assess whether or not you are worthy of Eagle, whether you know your stuff or not,” MacLean said.

The project MacLean chose to complete is a peace pole, which he will position in front of St. Joseph High School.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I first started looking for a project, but there are a lot of them that are used a lot,” he said. “I was looking for something that would be kind of original.” He said his dad, Mike James, found this idea online and they agreed it sounded like a great idea. His mom, Mary James, is also pleased with this choice.

“We like the idea that he is doing the peace pole,” Mary James said. “It seems to have a little bit more meaning with the world situation as it is.”

MacLean has just about everything he needs for the project, thanks to some generous individuals and businesses, but he still needs one thing- perennials to plant around the pole.

“They could either donate the money and I could get them myself, or they could get the flowers and contact me and I could pick them up,” MacLean said. His e-mail address is

Mary James is proud of her son and what he is trying to accomplish. She described her son as quiet and a good student, with a passion for music.

“He is quite the musician,” she said. “He plays the violin and the piano and the guitar and the drums. Those are the four that seem to be his passion.” She said he has taken violin lessons for seven or eight years, but is self-taught in all the other instruments.

While MacLean said he is leaning toward a career in either music or international relations, Mary James would be happy either way.

“Anything that brings him success and happiness,” she said.