Unionville High School senior Madeleine Day earns the Congressional Award Gold Medal11/01/2022 02:06PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Unionville High School’s Madeleine Day was recently formally recognized during the 2022 Virtual Gold Medal Celebration after earning the Congressional Award Gold Medal. The Congressional Award is Congress’ only charity. Established into law in 1979, the Congressional Award was created to honor, encourage, and inspire America’s youth. In the ensuing years, Congress has recognized thousands of outstanding young Americans who have earned and deserve our admiration and recognition.
Through the Congressional Award, Congress urges young people to challenge themselves. Any interested, motivated student, aged 14 through 24 years old, may participate in the Congressional Award by setting and achieving individually challenging goals in four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration. The Congressional Award adapts to meet the needs of every participant as they set goals according to their own interests and level of abilities. The Award is geared toward youth who set their own personally challenging goals and activities.
“Pursuing the Congressional Award Gold Medal has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Madeleine said. “I learned to achieve milestones by setting measurable goals for myself and, by serving those in need, I came to feel more connected to this community that I care deeply about.”
To earn the Gold Medal, each participant must complete at least 400 hours of voluntary public service, which means sharing their time and talent for the betterment of the community, 200 hours of personal development, which can include developing social and life skills as well as interests, and 200 hours of physical fitness, spent in any way that improves their health and quality of life. Additionally, they must spend at least four consecutive overnights exploring a new environment or culture. Madeleine has been consistently working to achieve this award for over twenty-four months, the minimum time frame to earn the Gold Medal.
“For my expedition, I planned a road trip along the civil rights trail in the summer of 2021,” Madeleine explained. “My mom and I saw landmarks and visited museums and statues in North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, etc. that explored and educated me about the importance of the Civil Rights Movement. I then had to do a seven-page write-up on what I learned.”