North Carolina Student Leaders Recognized by Congress for Goalsetting and Volunteer Efforts

Concord, NC (August 12, 2019) — Today, U.S. Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12) and Richard Hudson (NC-08) co-hosted the 2019 North Carolina Congressional Award Ceremony.

65 youth from across the state were presented with The Congressional Award, Congress’ highest honor for youth. Each recipient challenged themselves personally and engaged with their communities by setting goals in four program areas – Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

Collectively, the students contributed a staggering 14,556 hours of volunteerism to communities near and far.

Congresswoman Adams and Congressman Hudson presented the awards on behalf of the United States Congress and lauded the recipients for taking initiative and considering others in their decision-making.

“As a member of The Congressional Award’s Board of Directors, I am proud to celebrate our state’s youth and their incredible achievements,” said Congressman Richard Hudson. “I was honored to help recognize and congratulate these young men and women for their success and service to our community. They are the leaders of tomorrow.”

“It is my honor and privilege to present The Congressional Award to the promising young North Carolinians who earned this recognition in 2019,” said Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. “Each of these young leaders’ dedication to personal development and public service is positively impacting communities across North Carolina. It because of committed young people like this year’s award recipients that I know the future of our democracy is bright.”

The event was made possible by the generosity and leadership of Smithfield Foods, Inc., a global consumer packaged goods and protein company that employs more than 10,000 individuals throughout North Carolina. Smithfield has been involved with The Congressional Award since 2015, and returns this year as the Title Sponsor of the 2019 North Carolina Congressional Award Ceremony. The company maintains a robust sustainability program that includes a dedicated focus on supporting the communities where its employees live and work through engagement, volunteerism, and financial support.

“Smithfield Foods’ ongoing support of The Congressional Award reflects our commitment to the same values that the Award upholds,” said Mike Skahill, Vice President of Government Affairs at Smithfield Foods and Congressional Award Foundation board member. “Each of the Congressional Award recipients dedicates themselves in service to their local communities, a parallel to the importance we place on supporting our neighbors in the communities we call home. We are proud to support all of these efforts that help build a stronger tomorrow for everyone.”

Charlotte Motor Speedway served as the host venue and granted awardees and guests special access to facilities, including The Speedway Club and racetrack.

Aric Almirola, NASCAR driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing, served as keynote speaker and local WSOC-TV Anchor Allison Latos volunteered her time as emcee.

North Carolina remains one of the most dynamic states in The Congressional Award’s portfolio, with the Charlotte metropolitan area ranking in the top 10 fastest growing regions. The Tar Heel State has produced 2,128 awardees all-time and there are currently 2,369 participants pursuing the award.

The ceremony program and list of Congressional Award recipients can be found here.

About The Congressional Award
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan’s Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, Farmer John®, Kretschmar®, John Morrell®, Cook’s®, Gwaltney®, Carando®, Margherita®, Curly’s®, Healthy Ones®, Morliny®, Krakus®, and Berlinki®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com and connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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The Congressional Award Welcomes New Board Members

Washington, DC (July 11, 2019) —The Congressional Award Foundation is pleased to announce the election of Jim Dunn and Mike Kelley to the National Board of Directors and Skip Braziel, Sanyin Siang, and Bruce Walker to the Advisory Board of Directors.

“These individuals bring a wealth of experience in their fields and will be tremendous assets to our Foundation as we further our mission of recognizing youth achievement across the nation,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors.

Skip Braziel is Vice President of State Regulation and Legislation for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). He oversees state legislative and regulatory advocacy and leads a team of government relations professionals providing strategic and tactical support to state CPA societies.

Skip has over 20 years of experience advocating, coalition building, and problem solving.

Prior to AICPA, Skip served as Assistant Vice President, State Government Relations for MetLife and Vice President and Community Relationship Officer at JPMorgan Chase in Chicago.

Jim Dunn, PhD, DHA, FACHE is Executive Vice President and System Chief Human Resources Officer for Atrium Health, one of the most comprehensive and highly integrated not-for-profit healthcare systems in the nation.

Dunn is a national expert in culture, diversity and inclusion, and the employee experience.

Previously, Dunn served as Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas; Human Resources and Learning Executive for the Cleveland Clinic; Chief Learning Officer for Texas Health Resources; and National Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Retention Strategies for the American Cancer Society.

Mike Kelley serves as Vice President – External Affairs for YRC Worldwide. He is responsible for the promotion and protection of YRCW interests before trade associations and with legislative and regulatory officials at the local, state, and federal level.

His experience includes positions at the Kansas Motor Carriers Association and the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as a Congressional Aide. He has served in several leadership positions with the American Trucking Associations including chairing three different policy committees and co-chairing two industry task forces.

Sanyin Siang is the founding Executive Director of the Coach K Leadership and Ethics Center (COLE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a professor at its Pratt School of Engineering.

The COLE center is a leadership laboratory with programming for all of Duke’s Daytime MBA students and convenes think tank gatherings across sectors to explore today’s complex leadership challenges and create positive societal impact.

Sanyin’s mission in life is to enable greatness in others as an educator, parent, mentor, author, CEO coach, and advisor.

Bruce Walker serves as Associate Director – Television & Entertainment Division for the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment. Under the direction of the Mayor’s office, the agency serves as the media platform for government agencies and community awareness.

Mr. Walker is a talented senior level executive who began his career at Motown Records and rose quickly to become Senior Vice President of Artists & Repertoire and General Manager of its jazz label MoJazz.

Bruce helped in the expansion of DreamWorks SKG’s music division as General Manager, executive produced the first BET Awards Red Carpet special, and eventually co-founded his own production company, B-Sharp Records and Entertainment.

Learn more about the Board of Directors here.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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538 Students Presented with Congress’ Most Prestigious Honor for Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2019
Washington, DC

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:
Martine Charles
(206) 295-9114
martine@marcglobalcommunications.com

Sharon Liggins
(818) 207-5027
sharon.liggins@gmail.com

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:
Derek Doyle
(301) 676-3882
doyle@congressionalaward.org

If you are not a member of the media but would like to learn more, please use the Contact Us page.


Humbling. Inspirational. Optimistic. These are words not always found buzzing around Capitol Hill. But the 2019 Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony & Events held on June 19-21 in Washington, D.C. sparked enthusiasm for our nation’s future and ushered in the next generation of servant leaders.

Congress presented The Congressional Award Gold Medal to 538 youth this year, the largest class in the program’s 40-year history. Spanning 42 U.S. states and territories and 181 congressional districts, Gold Medalists contributed 295,206 volunteer hours to their communities, an average of 548 hours per medalist.

The Gold Medal represents the pinnacle of Congress’ award program for youth. The honor requires that each recipient embark on a two year goal-setting journey, logging a minimum of 400 hours of Voluntary Public Service, 200 hours of Personal Development and Physical Fitness, respectively, and a 5 day, 4-night Expedition/Exploration.

Gold Medalist Kamin Bond sports his newly minted Gold Medal.

The multi-day celebration kicked off on Wednesday, June 19th with an early check-in and networking event in the Rayburn House Office Building. Gold Medalists were encouraged to interact with and learn more about their peers through enrichment activities.

Three award ceremonies were held throughout the day on Thursday, June 20th in the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center Congressional Auditorium. ABC News Congressional correspondent Mary Bruce, POLITICO senior Washington correspondent Anna Palmer, and CBS News national correspondent Chip Reid each served as Masters of Ceremonies.

The Presentation of Colors and National Anthem were given by the United States Capitol Police Ceremonial Unit. Invocations were provided by Reverend Patrick Conroy, Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives, and Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain of the United States Senate.

U.S. Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee present the Horizon Award to Gail Miller.

The Congressional Award Foundation recognized Gail Miller, Owner of the Utah Jazz and Chairwoman of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, with the Horizon Award. The award recognizes humanitarian leaders in the private sector who have worked to expand opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions.

U.S. Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney presented the special recognition. “Gail is not only a pillar in our community, [but she is also] an example who serves with grace, and with commitment, and with personal strength,” stated Romney.

Miller issued inspiring remarks to this year’s youth recipients. “These experiences that you’ve had, coupled with your hard work, will serve you well for the rest of your life. The work you have done has provided you with opportunities to shape your own actions and determine your purpose in life.”

U.S. Representative Brian Mast with Inspiration Awardee Lynn Lyons and South Florida Gold Medalists.

Florida mentor and former Congressional Award Board Member Lynn Lyons was recognized with the Inspiration Award for her exemplary service in advising Congressional Award participants. Mrs. Lyons is a retired educator and has guided over 500 youth in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.

Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) presented the award and commended Lynn for her unparalleled mentorship. “We’re proud of these young men and women because they have already learned one of the most important lessons through this program [The Congressional Award] – how to live your life without regret. And Lynn gives them the drive to achieve and pursue something bigger and more important than themselves.”

Paxton Baker, Congressional Award Chairman; U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18); Gold Medalist Jana Sabri of Irving, TX; U.S. Representative John Carter (TX-31); U.S. Representative Bill Flores (TX-17).

Congressional Award Board Member Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) captured the selfless achievement of the Gold Medalists by saying, “The values of this organization emphasize that Americans can serve anywhere and everywhere. And all Americans can serve regardless of race, religion, or viewpoint.”

Over 70 Members of Congress attended the ceremony to present their constituents with the Gold Medal. Other Congressional speakers included Senator Richard Burr (NC), Senator Mike Enzi (WY), and Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08).

U.S. Representative Ami Bera (CA-07) provides guidance and inspiration to students with ambitions of landing a career in a STEM field.

STEM Stars Reception
Following the Gold Medal Ceremony, guests made their way to the second annual STEM Stars Reception presented by Bayer in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building. The event honored the 196 youth who logged science, technology, engineering, and math activities in pursuit of their Gold Medal.

Bayer, the life science industry leader with more than 150 years of experience, was presented with the Corporate Commitment to America’s Youth Award for advancing STEM literacy among youth.

U.S. Representatives with a background in related fields presented the STEM Stars, including Senator Ron Wyden (OR) and Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07).

Bayer’s Ray Kerins emphasized the importance of educating and preparing students to become tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. “STEM continues to play a vital role in our nation’s economy and prosperity. We need to continue to inspire current and future youth generations to pursue STEM careers by helping them get access to the best resources and programs to succeed.”

Panel Discussions
The Congressional Award organized a series of expert panels on June 21st to compliment this year’s ceremony. Gold Medalists and guests heard from industry leaders on the most relevant and pressing issues facing society today. Each of the five panels offered not only valuable insight and inspiration but provided youth with an avenue to engage with their peers and ask questions from experienced professionals.

Set in the Member’s Room of the Library of Congress, A Lifetime of Service focused on the importance of extending volunteerism past the Gold Medal. The panel showcased non-profit organizations, national partners, professionals who have service-focused careers, and alumni who are making a difference in their communities.

Moderator: Jevin Hodge – LINK Strategic Partners
Gina Cross – AmeriCorps NCCC
Steve Culbertson – Youth Service America
Maura Fulton – Peace Corps
Javier LaFianza – HOBY

The Entrepreneurship panel took place in the Rayburn House Office Building. This discussion shared origin stories of business owners, investors, and executives.

Moderator: Sanyin Siang – COLE, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
Michael Akin – LINK Strategic Partners
Mark Ein – Entrepreneur & Investor
Sandra Evers-Manly – Northrop Grumman
Cece Morken – Intuit
U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez (NY-07)

Hosted at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Empowering Women conversation illustrated how girls have the power to transform themselves, their communities, and the world around them.

Moderator: Jessica Grounds – Mine the Gap
Gina Adams – FedEx
U.S. Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-01)
Susan Fisher Sterling – NMWA
Gail Miller – Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Utah Jazz

The Travel with Purpose panel took place in the Rayburn House Office Building and challenged attendees to ignite their inner explorer. Conversation points ranged from traveling ethically to packing efficiently for long international trips.

Moderator: Angie Ange – Angie Ange in the Morning, College is Cool Inc.
Merrill Eisenhower Atwater – People to People International
Dr. Alex Cromwell – George Washington University
George Stone – National Geographic Travel

The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy served as the host venue for the Sports, Health, and Wellness panel. This conversation illustrated the variety of careers in the world of sports.

Moderators: Tommy McFly and Kelly Collis – The Tommy Show
John Bramlette – Washington Nationals Dream Foundation
Derrick Dockery – Former NFL Player
Pops Mensah-Bonsu – Capital City Go-Go
Tanya Vogel – George Washington University – Athletics

Day at the Ballpark
Capping off the celebration, the Washington Nationals hosted Congressional Award Gold Medalists at Nationals Park on June 21st for a memorable day.

Gold Medalists took a photo on the diamond at midday and were invited to the Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves game that evening. The group was even recognized during the 2nd inning.

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The Congressional Award is the U.S. Congress’ only charity and award program for youth. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.


Resources
View the complete list of 2019 Gold Medalists.

Download a PDF copy of the 2019 Gold Medal Ceremony Program Book.

View the Gold Medal Ceremony & Events photo gallery.

Visit the 2019 Gold Medal Ceremony press kit.

Learn more about the panel discussions.

Bayer Earns Top National Honor from The Congressional Award

Company receives award for advancing STEM literacy among youth

Washington, DC (June 25, 2019) — Bayer’s enduring commitment to American youth was recognized by The Congressional Award Foundation with the Corporate Commitment to America’s Youth Award last week. This special recognition highlights the life science leader’s creation and support of STEM initiatives that are helping to prepare the next generation of leaders and make science more accessible in communities nationwide.

The award was presented to Bayer representatives by the United States Congress at The Congressional Award’s Second Annual STEM Stars Reception on June 20, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

“Our youth participants have the chance to become the innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders able to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. The Congressional Award has a central responsibility to support tomorrow’s leaders today and we’re honored to work with and learn from an organization that shares this ideal,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors.

Bayer’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Ray Kerins accepts the Corporate Commitment to Youth Award from The Congressional Award Foundation’s Chairman Paxton Baker and members of the Board of Directors.

Bayer is a Founding Partner of The Congressional Award STEM Stars Initiative, a project aimed at stoking passion for science and math at an age when many young people lose interest in them. The collaboration leverages Bayer’s 150+ years of scientific innovation with The Congressional Award’s decades-long experience of fostering community involvement to equip youth with the ability and confidence to explore science.

“We are honored and proud to be recognized for our longstanding commitment to STEM and to receive this prestigious award from The Congressional Award Foundation,” said Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer. “STEM continues to play a vital role in our nation’s economy and prosperity. We need to continue to inspire current and future youth generations to pursue STEM careers by helping them get access to the best resources and programs to succeed. The gold medal recipients are a true testament to the great talent we have in the next generation of STEM leaders.”

18 year-olds Divya Srihari of Chesterfield, Missouri and Kunal Kanwar of Edison, New Jersey are two beneficiaries of the STEM-focused partnership, both 2019 Congressional Award Gold Medalists and STEM Star recipients.

Divya advanced her career development in pediatric medicine by volunteering at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and participating in research programs like Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) and the Heart Rate Variability Lab. Divya even founded her own non-profit, GINHA (Global Initiative for Nutrition and Health Awareness), to educate school children about healthy nutrition and the risks of excessive sugar consumption. She is humbled to “serve diverse socio-economic communities in greater St. Louis while growing her knowledge of biomedical research.”

Kunal learned about medical practices by aiding healthcare professionals at local hospitals and developed his building, programming, and design skills through robotics. From these experiences he has “learned not only hard skills in computer programming, but how to be an effective leader.”

Representatives of Bayer congratulate the 2019 STEM Stars class.

Since launching the partnership in June 2018, Bayer has helped Congress’ charity reach new and diverse audiences and grow to over 50,000 participants. In just a year’s time, 317 students from 33 states have earned a STEM Star and combined for 95,110 STEM activity hours in local communities.

Bayer actively offers opportunities for students to access hands-on STEM programming through school support, scholarships, baylabs, internships, and the Making Science Make Sense program.

Always innovating and never satisfied with the status quo, Bayer finds simple and elegant ways to expose STEM-related concepts to youth in everyday life.

U.S. Representative Ami Bera (CA-07) provides guidance and inspiration to students with ambitions of landing a career in a STEM field.

The company’s annual Alka-Rocket Challenge is an event where student scientists compete for a chance to win $30,000 and to break the Guinness World Record for the highest launch of a rocket powered by Alka-Seltzer tablets.

Science Studio by Bayer was launched in December 2018, an Amazon Alexa Skill that offers STEM homework assistance and step-by-step instructions for kid-friendly experiments that can be done in and outside the home.

About The Congressional Award
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.us.

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Congress to Honor Youth Nationwide with Congressional Award Gold Medal

Contact:
Derek Doyle – (301) 676-3882, doyle@congressionalaward.org
Martine Charles – (206) 295-9114, martine@marcglobalcommunications.com
Sharon Liggins – (818) 207-5027, sharon.liggins@gmail.com
Washington, DC


What: Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives will recognize 538 youth across 42 states and territories at the 2019 Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony.

The Congressional Award Gold Medal is the highest honor a member of Congress may bestow upon a youth civilian. For a minimum of two years, each Gold Medalist has logged at least 800 hours across four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

The 2019 Gold Medal class is the largest in the program’s 40-year history.

Who: Approximately 1,000 attendees, including Members of Congress, youth Gold Medalists and family/friends, corporate and community leaders, and partnering organizations.

When & Where:

Thursday, June 20, 2019 | Gold Medal Ceremonies
U.S Capitol Visitor Center – Congressional Auditorium
First St NE, Washington, DC 20515

10:00 a.m. | Ceremony I
Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.

Confirmed Guest Speakers: U.S. Senator Mitt Romney and Horizon Awardee Gail Miller (Owner of Utah Jazz, Co-Founder of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies).

12:30 p.m. | Ceremony II
Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Confirmed Guest Speaker: U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08)

3:00 p.m. | Ceremony III
Arizona, Armed Services Abroad, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Confirmed Guest Speakers: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Representative Brian Mast (FL-18), and Inspiration Awardee Lynn Lyons.

Friday, June 21, 2019 | Panel Discussions

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. | A Lifetime of Service
Library of Congress – Thomas Jefferson Building – The Member’s Room
9101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

Panelists: Gina Cross (AmeriCorps NCCC), Steve Culbertson (Youth Service America), Maura Fulton (Peace Corps), Javier LaFianza (HOBY), U.S. Representative Doris Matsui (CA-06)

Moderator: Jevin Hodge (LINK Strategic Partners)

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. | Entrepreneurship
2168 Rayburn House Office Building – The Gold Room
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515

Panelists: Michael Akin (LINK Strategic Partners), Sandra Evers-Manly (Northrop Grumman), Mark Ein (Entrepreneur & Investor), Cece Morken (Intuit), U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez (NY-07)

Moderator: Sanyin Siang (COLE, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business)

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. | Travel with Purpose
2168 Rayburn House Office Building – The Gold Room
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515

Panelists: Merrill Eisenhower Atwater (People to People International), Dr. Alex Cromwell (George Washington University), George Stone (National Geographic Travel)

Moderator: Angie Ange (Angie Ange in the Morning, College is Cool Inc.)

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. | Empowering Women
National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005

Panelists: Gina Adams (FedEx), Susan Fisher Sterling (NMWA), Gail Miller (Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Utah Jazz)

Moderator: Jessica Grounds (Mine the Gap)

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. | Sports, Health, and Wellness
Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy
3675 Ely Pl SE, Washington, DC 20019

Panelists: John Bramlette (Washington Nationals Dream Foundation), Derrick Dockery (Former NFL Player), Pops Mensah-Bonsu (GM of the Capital City Go-Go), Tanya Vogel (George Washington University).

Moderators: Tommy McFly and Kelly Collis (The Tommy Show)

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Media Information: Gold Medalist contact information and award biographies are available upon request.

PRESS KIT   GOLD MEDALIST LIST   EVENT INFO


The Congressional Award is the U.S. Congress’ only charity and award program for youth. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

Remembering the ‘Senator’s Senator’ Thad Cochran

June 5, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) – The Congressional Award family is saddened to hear of the passing of former U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.

Senator Cochran (5th from right) recognizes Congressional Award recipients in 2000.

Serving in Congress for more than four decades, in both the Senate and House, Thad was affectionately known as the “quiet persuader.” Soft spoken, but powerful. He represented elegance and civility in policy-making.

The Congressional Award Foundation was fortunate enough to work with Senator Cochran on multiple initiatives in Mississippi. As a nation, we will strive to use his example of dignity and respect in our pursuits and daily interactions.

Our condolences are with Thad’s far-reaching band of supporters during this time of grieving.

Gail Miller Selected as Horizon Award Recipient

Washington, DC (May 12, 2019)  — The Congressional Award Foundation will honor Gail Miller with the Horizon Award at the annual Gold Medal Ceremony on Capitol Hill on June 20, 2019.

Photo: Larry H. Miller Group of Companies

A special recognition from the Joint Leadership Commission of The Congressional Award Foundation and its Board of Directors, the Horizon Award recognizes individuals from the private sector who “have worked to expand opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions.”

Previous recipients include Drew Brees, America Ferrera, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bob Lanier, Wynton Marsalis, Cal Ripken, Jr., Pat and Emmitt Smith, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Gail embodies the spirit of this award by demonstrating thought for others in her decision-making and using her influence to shape communities for the better,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors. “Gail’s story is about finding true individuality and her life’s work serves as an extraordinary example for our nation’s youth, particularly young women.”

Most would recognize the late Larry H. (d. 2009) and Gail Miller for establishing one of the largest privately-owned group of companies in the western United States, with ownership of over 60 car dealerships, the Utah Jazz, Megaplex Theatres, and more.

But in the decade following Larry’s passing, Gail has shown the importance of resolve and drive and been a source of inspiration for many seeking to find their identity.

In April 2018, Gail published the book “Courage to Be You: Inspiring Lessons from an Unexpected Journey.”

The book’s central focus is about finding purpose. Gail shares personal anecdotes about the role faith played in shaping her as a person, the strength of women, and how she measures wealth.

“The success and the money and the worldly things that we have are not where I count my wealth. My wealth is counted in relationships, being able to provide jobs for people where they can support their family and live good lives. Those are the things that really drove us,” stated Gail in a March 2018 interview with Deseret News.

Today, Gail Miller is the owner of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Larry H. Miller Management Corporation. Gail also presides over the Larry H. Miller Education Foundation and the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation, which support charitable, educational, and humanitarian causes.

Learn more about the Horizon Award here.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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Reps. Allred, Granger, Veasey Host Texas Ceremony, Announce Fort Worth ISD Initiative

Congressional Awardees pose outside of the Dallas Museum of Art with U.S. Representatives Colin Allred, Kay Granger, and Marc Veasey.

Dallas, TX — On Saturday, May 4, 2019, Members of the Texas congressional delegation hosted a statewide Congressional Award ceremony and introduced a new initiative between Congress’ award program for youth and the Fort Worth Independent School District.

The Dallas Museum of Art served as the host venue, welcoming awardees and their guests to a reception and award ceremony.

The event was made possible by the generosity of partners like American Airlines, G2 Secure Staff, Lockheed Martin, Magdaleno Leadership Institute, and Mr. Jorge Baldor.

In addition to honoring youth recipients for personal goal-setting and community service, the event served as a launch for The Congressional Award’s partnership with the Fort Worth Independent School District. The two organizations unveiled their plan to equip North Texas teens with tangible skills and resources necessary to bridge the gap between classroom success and career preparation.

Read more about the FWISD partnership here.

Left to Right: Julie Gostic of G2 Secure Staff, Congressional Award Chairman Paxton Baker, Congresswoman Kay Granger, Gold Medalist siblings Raheem and Rehman Memon, Congressman Colin Allred, Congressman Marc Veasey.

“Over four decades, The Congressional Award program has displayed an unparalleled ability to empower young adults to prepare for life outside the classroom,” said Congressman Marc Veasey. “Regardless of ability, circumstance, or socioeconomic status, The Congressional Award recognizes the effort, initiative, and achievement students make.

The Foundation also recognized Texas A&M University assistant professor Dr. Hector Rivera with the Education Champion Award for his contributions to teaching, public service, and guiding students to achieve excellence.

Illustrating the significance of community and partnership, Congressional Award Board Member and motivational speaker Mateo Magdaleno reminded awardees that it takes a village to achieve personal success. “Although we stand as one person, we must never forget we are representing thousands of people – entire communities, families that have supported you, and educators who have served as your mentors.”

Congressional Awardees and guests look on as the ceremony unfolds.

This year’s ceremony honored 89 recipients across the Lone Star State. Texas remains one of the most active in The Congressional Award’s portfolio with 3,304 awardees all-time, 80,100 service hours in 2018 (8% of national total), and 4,213 current participants (ranked 2nd in number of participants, only trailing California).

The ceremony program and list of Congressional Award recipients can be found here.

Free, high resolution photos are available to view and download here.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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The Congressional Award, Fort Worth ISD to Provide ‘Pathway to Career’ for Texas Teens

Washington, DC (April 24, 2019)Fort Worth Independent School District and The Congressional Award Foundation strengthened their commitment to student leaders by launching a new effort to grow tomorrow’s leaders, today.


The two organizations announced today a regional collaboration, which will address the need to prepare tomorrow’s workforce with tangible skills and attributes necessary to excel in a classroom setting and beyond.

“Our purpose in education is not only to teach our students to excel in school but to build their character through service to others. We are honored to partner with The Congressional Award to help our students thrive,” said Dr. Kent Paredes Scribner, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent.

The partnership will initially take shape with the first official Congressional Award designated school, which has been determined to be the World Languages Institute (WLI) located in Fort Worth.

In working with national, state, and local supporters, this partnership will have a sharp focus on leveraging enrichment opportunities for students like internships, intergenerational interactions, job training, and exploration of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The new partners are optimistic that exposure to different industries and populations will ignite students’ passions and interests.

“Our program aims to foster leadership, public service, arts and culture, and healthy communities through youth empowerment,” said Erica Heyse, National Director for The Congressional Award Foundation. “Working with an educational leader like Fort Worth ISD will allow students to utilize The Congressional Award as a pathway to a career. It’s important for us to keep students motivated and connected to their community and to provide that extra incentive to graduate from high school and find job placement.”

Lending bi-partisan congressional support to the North Texas initiative are United States Representatives Kay Granger (TX-12) and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

“It is an honor to have the first Congressional Award school in Fort Worth. I am proud to be part of this bipartisan effort to help our children with the preparation and skills they need to be successful in life. As a former teacher, I know first-hand how important efforts like this can be in a student’s development,” said Congresswoman Kay Granger.

“Over four decades, The Congressional Award program has displayed an unparalleled ability to empower young adults to prepare for life outside the classroom,” said Fort Worth native Congressman Marc Veasey. “Regardless of ability, circumstance, or socioeconomic status, The Congressional Award recognizes the effort, initiative, and achievement students make. I’m excited and honored that the Fort Worth ISD will host the first Congressional Award School providing our students with access to fellowships, job training, and on-site future employment opportunities with Dallas-Fort Worth companies. This is key to exposing our students to resources they may never have had access to and to show them they have the tools and skills to achieve their dream job.”

Partnership Launch
The Congressional Award and Fort Worth ISD will host a kick-off event on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the Dallas Museum of Art, which will include a reception with remarks from state and local officials and an award presentation for Congressional Award recipients in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

The kick-off will also recognize partners who remain an integral part of the program’s success locally, including the presentation of The Congressional Award’s 2019 Education Champion Award to Dr. Hector Rivera, associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University.

“This award symbolizes the commitment of the Texas A&M University to diversity and community development through the support of its faculty,” said Dr. Rivera. “It also embodies the collaboration with multiple partners (districts, non-profits, and private sector) who have played a key role at improving the educational experience for all children in Texas and beyond. It is an honor to receive this award with an understanding that it takes many partners and collaborators, with a common vision, to achieve what we have achieved together.”

About The Congressional Award
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

About Fort Worth Independent School District
With more than 86,000 students in 83 elementary schools, 29 middle schools and 6th grade centers, 18 high schools, and 16 other campuses, Fort Worth ISD enjoys a diverse student population and strong community partnerships. Under the leadership of the superintendent and the Board of Education, the District is undergoing a series of initiatives that will redesign, transform, and revitalize Fort Worth ISD Schools. Fort Worth ISD’s mission is “preparing ALL students for success in college, career, and community leadership.”

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Senator Wyden Presents The Congressional Award, Highlights Student Creativity in STEM

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden provides remarks to Congressional Awardees and guests.

Portland, OR — The inaugural Oregon Statewide Congressional Award Ceremony took place on Friday, April 12, 2019 at KinderCare Learning Centers Corporate Offices in Portland, Oregon.

United States Senator Ron Wyden recognized student leaders with Congressional Award Medals and offered a Q&A for constituents to address today’s most pressing issues and local opportunities.

“I am incredibly inspired by these amazing young Oregonians and the outstanding public service they have provided in our state,” Wyden said. “Each richly deserves their Congressional Awards and I thank The Congressional Award program for recognizing them and so many other young people around the country working hard to make their communities better.”

Senator Wyden presents Caleb Jacobson with the Bronze Medal.

KinderCare Education’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom Wyatt, and Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer and Congressional Award Board Member, Kelsey Troy, were on hand to support the youth honorees and reinforce their organization’s mission to provide quality early education.

Prior to the award ceremony, Senator Wyden traversed the city to participate in events that displayed the latest progress in student-led STEM activities. He served as a special guest at the Intel Northwest Science Expo hosted by Portland State University as well as a science experiment with children and their teachers at KinderCare in downtown Portland.

Bronze Medalist Quinn McElroy-Fuchs with Senator Wyden, The Congressional Award’s Erica Heyse, and KinderCare’s Tom Wyatt and Kelsey Troy.

Quinn McElroy-Fuchs earned not only The Congressional Award Silver Medal but was also presented with a STEM Star for creating Operation Tooth Fairy, a Girl Scout Gold Award project that brings dental care information and dental supplies to low-income families in the Greater Portland area.

“The Congressional Award has really taught me about the importance of goal setting. Even if a goal seems out of reach if you put the time and effort in to work at it piece by piece, you will be surprised by the impact you can make,” said Quinn.

By collaborating with partners like KinderCare, The Congressional Award STEM Stars Initiative aims to stoke passion for science and math and help make STEM more approachable. Priorities include educating students to be leaders and innovators in emerging and rapidly changing STEM fields as well as educating a scientifically literate populace.

Bronze Medalist Aayush Bhatt shares his Congressional Award story.

Oregon Congressional Award Recipients:
Martin Berger of Portland (Silver Medal)
Aayush Bhatt of Beaverton (Bronze Medal)
Akash Bindalof Beaverton (Bronze Medal)
Caleb Jacobson of Portland (Bronze Medal)
Rachel Luther of Hood River (Gold Medal)
Quinn McElroy-Fuchs of Portland (Silver Medal)
Patrick Townsend of Portland (Gold Medal)
Timothy Townsend of Portland (Silver Medal)

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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