Two JSCC Dual Enrollment Students Honored by Congress

June 30, 2023 [email protected] Blog

55Each year, recipients of The Congressional Award Gold Medal – the U.S. Congress’ highest honor for young people – are celebrated at an annual event in our nation’s capital. At the 2023 Gold Medal Summit at the US Capitol, Jefferson State Dual Enrollment Students James and Amelia DeLano of Hoover, were the only Alabamians awarded The Congressional Award Gold Medal.

To earn this pinnacle award of the program, James and Amelia each committed themselves to at least two years of goal-setting and community involvement. Each participant logs a minimum of 400 hours of Voluntary Public Service, 200 hours of Personal Development, 200 hours of Physical Fitness, and an Expedition/Exploration project. Members of the United States Congress, public and private partners, and industry and civic leaders recognize Gold Medalists in front of their families and peers in a multi-day recognition event. DeLanos met with Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Senator Tommy Tuberville, and Congressman Gary Palmer during their time at the event.

James DeLano is a 2023 graduate and Valedictorian of Evangel Christian School and dual enrollment student at Jefferson State. In the fall, he will attend UAB where he will major in English professional writing, minor in Human Rights, and participate in the Honors College Global and Community Leadership Program. During his time working towards The Congressional Award Gold Medal, James volunteered for Special Equestrians, Canine Companions, Ronald McDonald House of the Carolinas, Hoover Public Library, and started his own program, Lennie’s Letters, to send handwritten letters (totally over 1200) of encouragement each week for 2 years of the pandemic to strictly isolated children being treated for orphan diseases. James’s future goals include graduate school where he plans to study Library and Information Sciences where he will focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accommodation of the disabled.

66Amelia DeLano is entering her junior year at Evangel Christian School and is completing her third semester at Jefferson State. As she worked towards the Congressional Award Gold Medal, Amelia served as a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions, a national non-profit that provides service dogs to adults, children, and veterans with disabilities and facility dogs, including the Alabama Courthouse Facility Dog Program, free of charge. In addition, she volunteered at Special Equestrians, at the Hoover Library with her certified therapy dog, McClain, and with her brother’s organization, Lennie’s Letters. Despite the requirement of 400 hours to complete the public service requirements for the Gold Medal, Amelia completed over 1700 hours serving her community in just two years. In addition, Amelia shadowed veterinarians at 280 Animal Medical Center in preparation towards her career goals in Veterinary Medicine, and she represented the state of Alabama as a member of the state gymnastics team and is a member of Mountain Brook Gymnastics team.

In the past 11 years, only eight young people from Alabama have been honored with this award. Congress established the Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize the achievements of American youth. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a young civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.


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