Watauga County students receive Congressional Award Gold Medals

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.

B rown receives Lees-McRae Nursing Award

BANNER ELK — Madison Brown, a 2015 graduate of Watauga High School, achieved a top honor upon completing her degree at Lees-McRae College. A graduate of the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences, she graduated with honors, obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.

The recipients are nominated by their designated majors’ faculty and staff for their excellence academics, leadership and service. As the recipient of the Nursing Award, Brown displayed leadership in and outside of the classroom. She achieved academic excellence by graduating cum laude and was inducted into the May School of Nursing Honors Society. As a source of support for her peers, she takes great pride in bettering herself and the community.

In addition to her coursework and demanding clinical schedule, she represented the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences in a local program to reduce opioid misuse. Sponsored by The High Country Charitable Foundation and Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk, the events were hosted by Lees-McRae College and Avery County High School.

She said, “The objective of the events was to bring awareness to the community members regarding the current opioid epidemic. As a personal and professional goal to better the community in which I live, I was honored to take part in these events hoping to serve a resource for individuals suffering from addiction.”

She is not hesitant to credit her success to her parents Rich and Denise Brown, faculty and staff of the May School of Nursing, and community individuals who have encouraged her along the way. Brown has accepted a position at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in the neuroscience department as a nurse in the intensive care unit.

Kaprals graduates from Lehigh University

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Courtney Kapral of Boone graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business and economics degree with a major in accounting and business information systems from Lehigh University in spring 2019.

During commencement ceremonies on May 20, Lehigh University conferred 1,058 bachelor’s degrees, 339 master’s degrees, and 47 doctoral degrees. Of the nearly 1,500 graduates, degree recipients came from 44 states and 61 countries and majored in 99 different disciplines.

Send announcements of achievements, milestones and other life news to editor@wataugademocrat.com.

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