Alumni Association

Gold Medal Ceremony 2007

The Congressional Award 2007 Gold Medal Ceremony was a huge success with over 160 of the 273 Gold Medalists in Washington, DC for the Gold Medal events.

The week started off with the 2007 Gold Medal Reception and Dinner to recognize the Gold Medalists and supporters of the Award in the public and private sectors. The event was held in the Atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, DC with over 500 guests in attendance.

Congressional Award Chairman, Mr. John Falk presenting Miss America 2007, Lauren Nelson, with the 2007 Horizon Award.

Highlights of the event included, the Congressional Award Board of Directors recognizing Miss America 2007, Lauren Nelson with the Horizon Award. The Horizon Award is a special recognition for individuals from the private sector who have contributed to the welfare of young Americans. Ms. Nelson is a spokesperson for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and through her role in the Miss America organization, works with the Children's Miracle Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children's hospitals across North America.


Former Senator Malcolm Wallop (WY) with John Falk, presenting Senator Mike Enzi (WY) with the
2007 Leadership Award.

Also recognized at the event were this year’s duo of Leadership Awardees, Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Representative Rush Holt from the 12 th District of New Jersey. The Leadership Award is presented annually to those individuals who have displayed outstanding commitment to improving the lives of our nation’s young people and who have provided critical support in our effort to make the Congressional Award a national opportunity. Senator Enzi was presented by former Senator Malcolm Wallop, also of Wyoming, who is the co-founder of the Congressional Award program in the United States. Representative Holt was presented by Congressional Award Board Member Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of the 18 th District of Texas. Both Senator Enzi and Representative Holt have shown a commitment to America’s Youth through their support of the Congressional Award and youth in their communities.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX18) with John Falk, presenting Representative Holt (NJ12) with the 2007 Leadership Award.
Mr. Rick Jesinger and Mrs. Cindy Jesinger being presented with the 2007 Congressional Award Inspirational Award.

The Congressional Award was pleased to acknowledge its Advisors and volunteers of the year at the 2007 Gold Medal Reception. This year we were honored to recognize Mrs. Cindy Jesinger and Mr. Rick Jesinger with the Inspirational Awards for their contributions and support of the Congressional Award. Cindy and Rick make every effort to improve the lives of youth around them by assisting with goal setting, reviewing record books, setting up local ceremonies, reaching out to local youth organizations and by contributing their time and energy in developing Congress’ Award for Youth.

Ms. Mary Eisenhower, President and CEO of People to People International, addressing the crowd at the Gold Medal Dinner.

We were delighted to hear from one of the Award’s partners, Ms. Mary Eisenhower, President and CEO of People to People International. Ms. Eisenhower explained the important relationship between local community development and reaching across national and cultural borders through service, which is a key component for People to People International as well as the Congressional Award. Ms. Eisenhower, along with People to People, was again able to provide for the James and Eunice Doty People to People/Congressional Award Scholarship Fund for Congressional Award Gold Medalists. 2007 Congressional Award Gold Medalists may apply for the Doty Scholarship for a People to People Immersion trip at

Congressional Award Alumni Association President, Mr. Andrew Ortiz, speaking at the event.

Congressional Award Alumni Association President and Congressional Award Board Member, Mr. Andrew Ortiz, closed out the evening’s event with an introduction to the Congressional Award Gold Medal Alumni Association. Mr. Ortiz highlighted the unique sense of camaraderie each Gold Medalist shares with one another and the importance of keeping the spirit of the Award, volunteerism, as a key factor within their lives. Mr. Ortiz urged the 2007 Gold Medal Class to become involved in the Alumni Association to help the growth of the program and gain numerous networking contacts within the association. Mr. Ortiz’s complete speech can be found on the Alumni Association page at

The 2007 Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony was held in the Cannon Caucus Room on the House side of the Capitol. With the largest number of Gold Medalists to date, 273 nationwide, there was a need to hold two Gold Medal Ceremonies on June 19, 2007. The morning ceremony kicked off the Gold Medal day with Mr. Derek McGinty, of CBS News, serving as Master of Ceremonies and Mr. Jay Hein, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives delivering the Keynote speech. Ms. Chantelle Wright, Gold Medal Class of 2004, provided insight on the Alumni Association for the audience. On hand to present the Gold Medals, representing Georgia through Wisconsin were sixteen Members of Congress.

The Pennsylvania Delegation presenting Ms. Chanrachna Thai of Philadelphia with her Gold Medal. From Left: Chairman of the Congressional Award Board of Directors, Mr. John Falk, Rep. Shuster (PA09), Rep. Schwartz (PA13), Ms. Thai, Rep. Altmire (PA04), Rep. Doyle (PA14),
Rep. Platts (PA19)
  Mr. Michael Stewart of Redmond, WA being presented by (from left) Mr. John Falk, Rep. McDermott (WA07) and Rep. Reichert (WA08).

The afternoon ceremony was led by Master of Ceremonies Doug McKelway, of ABC News, and included a stirring Keynote Speech from Miss America 2007, Lauren Nelson. 2007 Gold Medalist, Nirav Chheda of New York, provided a personal perspective for the audience. With 28 Members of Congress on hand to present the Gold Medals, the afternoon ceremony was full of smiles and handshakes.

Presentation of the Newton siblings from Tiki Island, TX. From left, Brent Newton, Rep. Paul (TX14) and Anastasia Newton
  Presentation of Mr. Everett Rollins. From left, Mr. Falk, Ms. Nelson, Mr. Rollins, Rep. Shuler (NC11), Senator Burr (NC)

The Congressional Award was able to continue to offer a week-long Gold Medal Program for Gold Medalists who wanted to come and explore Washington, DC with fellow Gold Medalists. This year fifty medalists took part in the week-long experience which featured visits to the Smithsonian Museums, Arlington Cemetery, the National Cathedral, Mount Vernon, a DC United soccer game, and much more.

A group from the week-long program at the Capitol.

Staying at the National 4-H Center the medalists were even able to fit in a voluntary public service project in their time in Washington, DC. The group created stuffed bears, from sewing to stuffing, which will be donated to the American Red Cross for rescue relief to comfort children after a tragedy. All in all, the participants of the week-long program were able to make new friends, explore Washington, DC and make the most of their time in the Nation’s Capital.

Thank you to all of the Advisors and Validators who worked so hard to help the Gold Medalists earn their Awards. We look forward to next year's Ceremony with even more Gold Medalists in attendance. While the date of next year's Ceremony is still being determined, any questions can be directed to Kathleen Deschler at Please check back in the near future as updates will be posted as information becomes available!

If you would like to order pictures from the 2007 Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony, please see or contact our photographer Carl Cox at

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