Four Montgomery County students were awarded The Congressional Award — an achievement that acknowledges young people who have reached certain program goals.
The program is the U.S. Congress’ only charity and participants set their own goals in four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration. It is voluntary and non-competitive.
Participants can register for the program at 13 and a half and must complete the goals by their 24th birthday.
The four Montgomery County students who received the award on Saturday are:
● Amber Briscoe of Boyds: a student at Northwest High School and member of the National Honor Society, Youth Service America, American Red Cross, and STEM Star
● Joshua Kade Friedlander of Bethesda: a student at Bullis School and member of the National Honor Society and Youth Service America
● Dilan Gangopadhyay of Bethesda: a student at Walt Whitman High School and member of the Boy Scouts of American, American Red Cross and STEM Star
● Emma Scielzo of Chevy Chase: a student at Holton-Arms School and member of the Girl Scouts of the USA
Participants can earn bronze, silver and gold Congressional Award Certificates and bronze, silver and gold Congressional Award Medals. It was not immediately clear which awards were given to the four Montgomery County students.
A total of 478 young people from 41 states received the award, recognizing more than 226,800 hours of public service.
The ceremony was live-streamed and included video messages from members of Congress including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Interviews were also featured with guest speakers — CNN journalist and anchor Wolf Blitzer, former Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith and Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.
During an interview, Blitzer, who lives in Bethesda, advised the awardees to find what they love doing and to find a career path that would allow them to do it every day.
“Do it well if you love what you’re doing. Life will be a lot better than if you dread having to go to work,” he said. “That’s the bottom-line advice that I have and it’s driven me all these years. I still get up in the morning and look forward to going to work because I love what I’m doing.”
Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at email@example.com.