• Jan. 23, 2019

    Senior selected as Congressional Award Gold Medalist

    Ayush Sharma An Upper St. Clair High School senior has been selected as a 2019 Gold Medalist in the Congressional Awards program. Ayush Sharma, representing Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District, will be recognized at the annual Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2019.

    According to the program’s website, “the Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans. It is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. Participants earn Bronze, Silver, and Gold Certificates and Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. Each level involves setting goals in four program areas; Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.”

    Some of the requirements of the Gold Medal Award include 400 hours of volunteer service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness and a five-day expedition all over the course of two years.

    “Each of my four domains of the award were focused on one or two actual activities, as the award strives for continuity throughout two years,” Ayush said. “All of these goals were written in September of my sophomore year.”

    Ayush completed his volunteer service at St. Clair Hospital and his temple. His professional development goal focused on preparing for the competitive workforce and was fulfilled by his involvement in the high school’s speech and debate team and his part-time job at Kumon Math and Reading Center.

    As a member of the high school’s varsity tennis team, Ayush focused his physical fitness goals on improving his performance on the court.

    “My fitness domain was based upon my primary sport of tennis and training for the tennis season,” he said. “My goals were specified to tennis, including increasing my win percentage as a varsity starter as well as to increase the speed of my serve and ground stokes.”

    For Ayush, the most impactful of the four goals was the expedition/exploration.

    “My expedition experience was one of everlasting impact as I traveled to Bulandshahr, India, which is 3 hours east of New Delhi, with my father, Dr. Vijaya Kumar of Wayne State University, and his pre-medical students to teach public and general health to rural and impoverished areas,” he said. “My trip lasted a week and consisted of teaching simple yet unknown concepts of wound care, hand washing and CPR.”

    Although he has a few months yet to finalize his college choice, Ayush plans on majoring in biomedical engineering with the intent of applying to medical school. At Upper St. Clair High School, he participates in several activities including the speech and debate team, Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society and varsity boys’ tennis team.

    Learn more about the Congressional Awards online congressionalaward.org/program/. The complete list of Gold Medalists is available at congressionalaward.org/national-events/gold-medal-events/2019-gold-medalists/.