On Tuesday, May 1, Congressman John Larson presented the Silver Congressional Award Medal to junior Madison Henry. Madi fulfilled goals in four areas including voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration to earn the award.
“It requires you to do 200 hours of voluntary service, 100 hours of personal development, 100 hours of physical activity and a three-day, two night expedition,” Madi said.
In order to receive the Silver Award each participant must accomplish these tasks in at least a year and log hours each month. “You have to do all of the hours in a minimum of a year,” Madi said.
Madi said that she was able to fulfill many of the demands of the award through the opportunities KO already requires or offers. “The physical activity was very easily done through the sports requirement at KO,” she said. She said she also volunteered at her summer camp.
Madi also went on the Team Tobati trip to Paraguay where she had a meaningful experience and logged some voluntary service hours. “I run a program called Team Tobati of which Madi was a participant the last couple years. Service to the community is part of the award thus that is how I was involved,” Spanish teacher Ronald Garcia said. Mr. Garcia was very happy to help Madi achieve this big award. “We are very proud of Madi for getting the award, and she was great with Team Tobati,” he said.
For the personal development aspect of the award Madi went sailing and made GoPro videos during the summer. She also went to Vermont and worked on a farm during the chilly winter break. “It was really cold; we had to wear a bunch of layers,” she said.
Madi found out about this program through a family friend. “My mom’s best friend’s step son is doing it, and she thought that I would probably be able to complete most of these hours through my normal life,” Madi said. She also said that she decided to participate in this program for her own personal growth. “I think it was a goal for me to help my community and also better myself,” she said.
Dean of Students William Gilyard organized a presentation for Madi in the hospitality suite in the field house during the day as an opportunity for the community to show support and love for her.
Madi was humbled and surprised by the in-person presentation. “The congressman’s secretary called Mr. G. to setup the presentation. I did not know they were going to come to KO to present it. I thought they were just going to send it in the mail like they usually do,” she said.
In order to verify Madi’s hours she had advisors who signed off on them. “They have certain paperwork that you have to do, and you have to have an advisor for each section, so for basketball it was Mrs. Bailey and then you just send it in to the person who is head of it in Congress, and she emailed me back with some questions just to make sure I was not double dipping in some of my hours,” she said.
Mr. Garcia also had to sign off on some of Madi’s hours. “I had to sign a form confirming that she did the service work through Team Tobati,” he said. Madi plans on continuing her participation with this program. “I am submitting my hours for the Gold Medal, and then I get to fly down to Washington D.C. next April and they will present it to me there,” she said.
As part of the program Madi needed a general advocate and she asked science teacher Clayton Miles to be this. He said it was really a no-brainer when she asked him. “I am Madi’s advocate because I think she is an amazing kid. Madi is the kind of kid that does the right thing when no one is looking. She is a friend to everybody,” he said.