Sept. 13, 2022
Junior earns Congressional Award Silver Medal; 2022 graduate earns Gold
An Upper St. Clair High School junior recently earned a Silver Medal from the Congressional Award Program. Autumn Ma, who earned the Bronze Medal in 2021, now has her sights set on the program’s Gold Medal.
According to the program’s website, “the Congressional Award provides opportunities for young people to unleash their potential by achieving personal goals focused on volunteerism, character development, and fitness.”
Requirements for the Silver Medal include 200 hours of volunteer service, 100 hours of personal development, 100 hours of physical fitness and a three-day expedition all over the course of 12 months.
“Autumn has committed her voluntary time by working at the Jubilee Soup Kitchen and fundraising on their behalf by collecting donation items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, clothing, shoes, glasses, etc) or selling baked goods,” Thu Le, Autumn’s mother, said. “She has spent the time for her Personal Development goal to learn how small businesses operate and obtain entrepreneurial skills for a potential career in business management. She has satisfied the Exploration requirement for the Silver Medal by self-planning a trip to Lisbon for five days and four nights.”
As a dual enrollment student, Autumn has earned 35 college credits from the Community College of Allegheny County, where she has achieved Dean's List for four semesters. She is also a member of the Upper St. Clair High School varsity tennis team. Autumn is currently working to earn the Congressional Award Program’s Gold Medal, which is double the requirements of the Silver Medal over a two-year period.
“Her ultimate goal is to be an active member of the USC community,” Mrs. Le said.
The Congressional Award Program is open to all youth in the United States between the ages of 14 and 24. Participants earn Bronze, Silver, and Gold Certificates and Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. The Congressional Award has no minimum grade point average requirements. It accommodates young people with special needs or disabilities who are willing to take the challenge. It is not an award for past accomplishments. Instead, individuals are honored for setting goals, creating an action plan, and meeting the challenge.
2022 USCHS graduate earns Gold
Shivani Jajoo, a 2022 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, has earned the Congressional Award Gold Medal. In addition, she earned a STEM Star for completing STEM activities in her pursuit of her Gold Medal.
Shivani – along with the 548 others – was honored during the annual Gold Medal Celebration on Aug. 5, 2022.
The Gold Medal takes a minimum of two years to earn, as one of the key aspects of the program is instilling proficiency in long-term goal setting. Each participant must complete 800 activity hours across four program areas – 400 hours of voluntary public service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and conduct a five-day, four-night expedition or exploration trip.
At 549 youth from 41 states across the nation, this is the largest Gold Medal class in the program’s 43-year history. Shivani is among just 11 Congressional Award Gold Medalists from Pennsylvania in 2022.