This past summer, Newman Smith High School student Suhani Jampala earned the Congressional Award Gold Medal from the United States Congress.
To earn the Gold Medal, each participant must complete 400 hours of voluntary public service, which means sharing their time and talent for the betterment of the community, 200 hours of personal development, which can include developing social and life skills as well as interests, and 200 hours of physical fitness, spent in any way that improves their health and quality of life. Additionally, they must take a five-day, four-night trip exploring a new environment or culture. All of this must be accomplished over the course of two years at minimum.
Jampala consistently worked to earn this award for more than 24 months. For her public service hours, she grew more than 80 lbs of produce to donate to the North Texas Food Bank. For personal development, she painted focusing mostly on portrait painting. For her physical fitness hours, she ice skated. And, for her exploration trip, she went to Egypt.
The award provides opportunities for young people to challenge themselves and unleash their potential by achieving personal goals focused on volunteerism, character development, and fitness.
“Overall, I learned about the importance of giving back to your community,” Jampala said.
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 14 – 24. To learn more about the award, please visit the Congressional Award Gold Medal website.