For Soleil, “Effort Brings Reward”

This Olympic Games, we’re sharing inspiring stories of Congressional Award participants with #HeartsOfGold.
You can help youth like Soleil discover The Congressional Award and reach for success with a tax-deductible donation this month.

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Soleil Gaylord is a high school senior at Telluride High School in Telluride, Colorado. She has recently earned The Congressional Award Bronze Medal for her goal-setting and community service. 
Long story short, Soleil has been running up mountains since she was five years old.
Photo provided by Soleil Gaylord
Her racing acumen is impressive to say the least. In addition to five state track and field titles, she is a member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team, a World Champion with the U.S. Snowshoe Running Team, Sportswoman of Colorado Award Winner, and was recently selected as the 2017 Wendy’s High School Heisman National Winner.
But like most stories of triumph, Soleil had to hurdle mountain-sized obstacles in order to earn her success.
Early in life Soleil was diagnosed with selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that made it difficult for her to communicate in social settings. Instead of running away from her problem, she sprinted at it full speed. Soleil says she knew “being able to communicate was vital to bringing change to her community.” After years of tackling the condition head on, Soleil is now the Student Body President, host of her own radio show, and started her school’s greenhouse.
Photo courtesy of Wendy’s High School Heisman Scholarship

“You can keep getting faster and you can keep exploring new trails. You can always achieve something more. You can always achieve a higher goal.”

We asked Soleil how The Congressional Award has helped her accomplish her goals.

“The Congressional Award is an incredible opportunity to tackle and work towards personal goals while improving yourself, your peers, and your community. I want to be a motivated, passionate, thoughtful, empathetic, contributing member of this great country. The Congressional Award helped me think about and arrange my activities to reach this goal.”