Fame, Honor, Prestige: Congressional Award Club


A gold medal being placed around your neck.  

Hundreds of hours of work finally paying off.

 Recognition from members of the U.S Congress. 

These are just a few of the achievements that can be achieved through the Congressional Award. 

This is an award given by Congress to people from ages 13 to 24, and it is achieved by getting hours of community service, personal development, physical fitness, and expeditions/exploration.

There are varying levels of awards depending on how many hours are completed, but all levels are a tremendous accomplishment. 

At the Congressional Award Club at SHS, the goal is to build a helpful community around the award, with students providing each other with assistance and advice, and often working together to complete some of their hours. 

A great example of this is with Junior Tiffany Hagan and Junior Jeffrey Takeuchi who worked together on completing a very unique form of community service: knitting baby hats. 

Hagen remembers the experience fondly, “It’s one of my favorite memories from the club and it was really cool to be able to learn a new skill while completing my hours.” 

Such niche forms of community service are a great indictment of how open the club is.

There are a multitude of events and activities to participate in in order to gain the hours. 

Takeuchi explains how one of his favorite activities was organizing books for the book drive, “It was a really nice, relaxing activity, and even though it seems mundane, I really enjoyed it.”

For some, like Takeuchi, these volunteer hours are a therapeutic exercise, giving them time to reflect while helping out the community.

Of course, the other main point of the club is the recognition that the award provides. 

As Advisor Mary Walther explains, “This [award] is something they will keep for the rest of their lives and can list on applications for school and work. There are not very many students active in this program in the state of Arizona, so it is a very special thing.” 

The prestigiousness of the award is what initially drew many of the students to the club. However, what most students remembered by the end of the year were the bonds they created with fellow students, and the new activities they got involved in and learned more about. The club is able to be a great blend of hard work, dedication, and achievement, while still allowing students to form a strong community with one another as they work towards a common goal.