Gold Congressional Award Winners 1

The Barstow School Boasts 13 Area Award Winners in Two Years


Choosing to pursue and obtain the Congressional Award at the gold level while taking full-load of college-prep classes is not to be taken lightly. In the past two years, 13 Barstow School students whose plates were already brimming with difficult classes and extra-curricular activities made the commitment to spend several months fulfilling the requirements to reach the highest level of accomplishment in the Congressional Award Program.

As the name implies, this is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans. Founded in 1979, this not-for-profit organization is non-partisan, voluntary and non-competitive. The program is open to all 14 to 23-year-olds who are interested in setting and achieving goals in four program areas. There is no minimum grade point average requirement and it accommodates young people with special needs or disabilities who are willing to take the challenge. Individuals are rewarded for achieving their own challenging goals after registering for the program.

The four program areas are:

  1. • Voluntary Public Service – spend a minimum of 400 hours offering volunteer hours in settings such as food drives, soup kitchens or day care establishments.
  2. • Personal Development – select and pursue a personal goal, such as improving acting skills, and follow through with actual strategies to achieve the goal and complete 200 hours in this endeavor.
  3. • Physical Fitness – choose a physical goal – for example, jog five miles in forty-five minutes – and show progress towards that goal. Candidate must show 200 hours of time devoted towards this goal.
  4. • Expedition or Exploration – Gold level award winners will spend four nights and five days completing an activity in a natural setting. The participant must plan and execute the activity – such as camping, hiking, skiing, cycling, etc.

All of the program area goals can be achieved with a group or individually, and all award winners must show that they spent 24 months in the process of achieving the Gold Medal level. Each June, winners are invited to Washington, D.C. to celebrate their accomplishments. Members of Congress present the medals and meet with families and school advisors who have helped make the journey possible for the students.

Each of these motivated students already holds leadership positions in student government, theater, community service initiatives, basketball, baseball, visual arts, and much more. Get to know these names and faces, each one of them will be making a positive impact on our community in the years to come.

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“I cannot fathom my life today without the Congressional Award, because in truth all the program areas have cultivated my ambitions, broadened my mindset on what I am capable of, and strengthened my character. I have found my service to be more meaningful then I could have ever imagined. I cannot wait to see where the next chapter in my life leads me!”

– Lauren Bernard