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Spirit of Midway Honor Leads Youth on Quest for Congressional Award

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Riley Gardell, Class of 2015

Midway High School rising senior Riley Gardell is anything but an ordinary teenager. Riley has been working towards earning a Congressional Award, an award that was established by the United States Congress in 1979 to recognize initiative, service and achievement in young people.

The Congressional Award is comprised of four separate categories, with each requiring a specific amount of hours: volunteer service, expedition/exploration, personal development and physical fitness. Within those categories, there are six levels of achievement: bronze, silver and gold certificates, along with bronze, silver and gold medals. In order for a student to reach each level of achievement, he or she must write out a calculable goal for each of the four categories and work towards that goal. For example, Riley said that one of his goals for physical fitness was, “to improve my time on an 11.4 mile cycling route.”

Riley has received the bronze, silver and gold certificates and has recently been notified that he has earned the bronze medal to be awarded by a local congressman in the near future. Riley has used his time for many activities, including volunteering at races, foster caring and other various volunteer efforts. He’s pursuing an interest in swim training and has recently found a passion for biking, which will help him meet his physical fitness goals. Riley also spent last summer at the Philmont Scout Ranch, where he met all of the requirements through the gold medal level for the expedition and exploration category.

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The Spirit of Midway Award was established in 2004 to encourage high academics, school involvement and community volunteerism. It is a joint project of the MHS PTA and the Education Foundation.

Riley began his journey to the Congressional Award by earning the Spirit of Midway Award as a freshman. The Spirit of Midway program began in 2005 as a partnership between the Midway ISD Education Foundation and the Midway High School PTA to promote academics, volunteerism and school involvement. The students qualify by meeting criteria in each of these three areas and are awarded with a breakfast awards ceremony each spring. Holly Tucker performed at this year’s Spirit of Midway breakfast. For more information about the Education Foundation and the Spirit of Midway Award, visit www.midwayisd.org/foundation.