When Sawyer Long entered his senior year in Highland School, he had to summon the energy for the final push to Eagle Scout.

It had been a long journey for Sawyer. He started in third grade by joining Cub Scout Pack 1737 at Middleburg Elementary School, and when his family moved to Palo Alto in California he joined Troop 50 and completed the rank of First Class. In his 8th grade year his family moved back to Middleburg, Virginia and he joined Troop 2950 to continue his journey to Eagle Scout. These many changes were challenging, as Sawyer had to adapt to different Troop leaders and move between a shifting group of peers.

As he moved through high school, other interests also started competing for Sawyer’s time and energy. He played on competitive varsity soccer and lacrosse teams at Highland School, which involved long practices, games and tournaments, and several division and state championships. He became a skilled saxophone player who performed with a jazz band at Highland, and in his senior year he as cast as one of the leads in Highland’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Meanwhile, he was taking advanced courses and preparing to apply to college. He was busy, but also determined not neglect his goal of achieving the Scouts’ highest rank.

Sawyer faced many challenges in completing his Eagle Project. Initially, he planned to build dug-outs at the county-run baseball field, but getting this project off the ground became mired in red tape. He went back to Hill School, where he had graduated from 8th grade, and worked with Grounds Supervisor Bob Dornin to build garden planting boxes at the school’s outdoor Science Center. These boxes are essential for the school’s Place-Based Education Program, and they will be used by students for years to come.

Sawyer was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at an honor court at his mother’s house on August 21. In his remarks, Sawyer thanked the many people who supported him in achieving his dream.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is very challenging — which is why most people don’t earn this honor — and Sawyer had to keep himself focused through many moves, changes, and challenges over a decade. Through his achievement, he joins men from many generations who have demonstrated persistence, hard work, focus, and character. These values, at the heart of scouting, are reliable indicators for happiness and future success. Congratulations to Sawyer on his achievement!