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County honors first female Eagle Scout, women’s suffrage anniversary


The Doña Ana County Commission declared Aug. 25 Valerie del Plain Day in recognition of her becoming the first female Eagle Scout in Las Cruces, media and public communications manager Catherine Zaharko said.

Del Plain attended the commission meeting to receive the recognition, along with her parents, Robert and Alejandra del Plain, and her brother, Richard.

She is a graduate of Oñate High School, attending Brigham Young University at its Idaho campus, where she is majoring in music.

Valerie del Plain joined Girl Scout Troop 9-3/4 (so named for the infamous train platform in the Harry Potter books that took students to Hogwart’s) in 2019 and began working on her merit badges and Eagle Scout requirements. Her project consisted of cleaning off graves at Hillcrest Cemetery in Las Cruces, taking pictures of the headstones and uploading the pictures into an app where people can find their ancestors. 

The rank of Eagle Scout is attained by fewer than 4 percent of all scouts and represents an accomplishment in leadership, commitment to community and an understanding of the scout oath, Zaharko said.

The Boy Scouts of America changed its name to BSA and began to include girls in 2019.

Also at the Aug. 25 meeting, the county commission issued a proclamation declaring August as Women’s Right to Vote month, in celebration of Congress passing the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – giving women the right to vote – on Aug. 26, 1920.

Prior to passing the 19th Amendment, scores of suffragists fought for decades for the right to vote, the county said. Congress and state legislatures debated the amendment for more than a year. New Mexico was the 32nd of 36 states needed for ratification of the 19th Amendment.