The Congressional Award Foundation hosted its annual Gold Medal Ceremony honoring 518 youth from 42 states across the nation, including Bolles senior Aman Shaik ’22. Shaik was honored for earning the Congressional Award Gold Medal, Congress’ highest honor for youth civilians.
This year’s virtual event was themed “Bright Futures” and included interactive workshops with Members of Congress and industry experts on a range of topics including mental health, STEM, entrepreneurship and government. While the topics were diverse, each session’s speakers focused on the bright future ahead, after an unprecedented year. The event also included live virtual workshops with members of Congress and U.S. business leaders and a virtual spotlight of 2021 medalists.
Shaik was the only medalist from Florida’s 4th Congressional District and was one of 26 students from Florida to earn the distinction.
Shaik volunteered more than 400 hours mentoring and motivating local and international youth to explore STEM. He mentored students on the Bolles Lower School Whitehurst Campus First LEGO League (FLL) robotics teams, volunteered at FLL tournaments and organized multiple summer robotics camps at the Museum of Science and History. He also served as an international ambassador for the North South Foundation and organized two robotics workshops in India, where he taught robot design and programming to underprivileged youth. In addition, Shaik committed more than 600 hours of personal development in designing and building robots as co-captain of the Bolles Upper School San Jose Campus First Tech Challenge robotics team. He led research projects on environmental pollution, cyberbullying and unconscious bias and shared his solutions at regional and state science fair competitions where he won multiple awards.
“The Congressional Award journey helped me improve my organization, time-management and leadership skills,” Shaik said. “It has been a humbling experience to have the opportunity to help others and to make a difference.”
Gold Medalists must complete 400 hours of voluntary public service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness and conduct a 5-day, 4-night exploration trip over the course of two years at a minimum. The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979, the program recognizes initiative, service and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.
See the full listing of all 2021 Gold Medalists here.