WASHINGTON, D.C. — On June 20, five Watauga County high school students were honored with Congressional Award Gold Medals on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Abigail Amato, Lillian Amato, Ashlyn Edmisten, Hattie Rose Greene and Kylah Jackson were among 20 youth from North Carolina who were presented with the Congressional Award Gold Medal and the STEM Star Medal. The award, which is the highest honor Congress may bestow on a youth civilian, involves setting challenging goals, developing leadership and procuring a commitment to improve the lives of those in the community.
Each Gold Medalist had to log 800 hours over a minimum of two years in four program areas: volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness and a four-night travel expedition.
While completing their volunteering, Kylah Jackson, Lillian Amato and Abigail Amato worked with the Coal River Group, a grassroots watershed group in Tornado, West Virginia. They provided education, septic tanks and water testing for the underprivileged of the area. Hattie Rose Greene spent numerous hours serving at the Hunger and Health Coalition as well as assisting the elderly population in the Boone area. She also traveled to Bulgaria, where she helped serve the local youth, elderly, and orphans with dance. Ashlyn Edmisten served the impoverished in Kenya while doing relief work such as giving immunizations, providing disabled children with wheelchairs, and educating locals on health issues.
Representative Richard Hudson, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr presented the Gold Medals to each student during a special recognition event in the Congressional Auditorium. This three-day event included the exclusive STEM reception in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building, picture on the reflecting pool and recognition at the Washington Nationals MLB Game, as well as the opportunity to meet the leaders of our great nation.
There were 538 students awarded the Congressional Gold Medal Award this year, joining the ranks of only 6,100 young Americans to have ever earned this award. Paxton K. Baker, chairman of the Board of the Congressional Award, says, “These outstanding 538 young Americans have challenged themselves and made lasting contributions to local communities across this great nation.” The 2019 Gold Medal class was the largest in 40 years of the program, representing an unprecedented year of servant leadership.
For more information on the Congressional Award, visit https://congressionalaward.org.