Shaun Powers is no stranger to adversity. He is also quite familiar with perseverance.
Although Powers, 18, has faced numerous obstacles in life, he has succeeded in ways that few would have expected. He recently attained one of the highest honors a young adult male can get — becoming an Eagle Scout.
Powers has overcome challenges in his personal life and at school to earn a rank that is achieved by only 4 percent of boys who enter the scouts. He has spent his entire academic career in special education programs. As a child, he suffered from developmental and hearing disabilities. When he was 10, his mother died.
Scouts was always a place where Powers could be successful. When he was a student at Willow Road School, he saw a sign for Cub Scouts and joined.
Because Powers was in special education, a program District 13 houses primarily at Willow Road, he was not in school with other children from his neighborhood, who went to Wheeler Avenue. By joining Cub Scout Pack 368 at Blessed Sacrament Church, he was able to meet many of those kids, forming several long-term friendships.
After graduating from Willow Road, Powers moved on to Memorial Junior High School where he continued with special education classes. At Central, he enrolled in the culinary arts program, and was able to take three periods of cooking classes each day under chef Peter Augello.
Students in the culinary arts program prepare food for many special functions in the high school district. Powers doesn’t have a favorite dish. “I like to cook it all,” he said.
This past year, he was the manager for the Central High School baseball team. His responsibilities included making announcements at games, keeping pitch counts and helping players with hitting drills. He was even given his own jersey, No. 24.
The team’s head coach, Frank Alesia, who is also a special education teacher at the school, sought out Powers for the role. Powers, who would like to work in the sports management field in the future, gladly accepted. He said the players made him feel like an equal part of the team.