Past recipient Anusha Ghildyal

Congress honors 35 Irvine youth

The Congressional Award gold medal – the highest civilian honor that Congress bestows on young Americans – has been awarded to 35 Irvine students.

No other city in America has more gold-medal recipients, according to Congressional Award program director Jordan Lindsey. Irvine students also earned 33 silver and bronze medals.

The program, established in 1979, asks teens to set goals for themselves in four categories: public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration. No academic excellence or athletic prowess is necessary.

Youths move at their own pace and have until their 24th birthday to finish. Past recipients delivered meals to an orphanage in India and launched a nonprofit to create care packages for children in hospitals.

Irvine consistently ranks among the top U.S. cities for the number of Congressional Award recipients.

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