Rabeya Akter and Xin “Steven” Chen are the Northern Marianas’ first-ever recipients of the Congressional Award, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) announced yesterday.
The Congressional Award is the U.S. Congress’s highest honor for youth, awarded to students for achieving personal goals focused on volunteerism, character development, and fitness.
Akter, a 2022 graduate of Kagman High School, was awarded the bronze medal. Chen, an incoming senior at Saipan International School, was awarded the silver medal.
“Congratulations to Miss Rabeya Akter and Mr. Steven Chen on achieving the Northern Marianas’ first-ever Congressional Award medals,” said Sablan. “The Congressional Award program is an incredible opportunity for students to be recognized for their hard work toward their personal goals in the fields of volunteerism, personal development, expedition, and physical fitness.”
“I commend Ms. Akter and Mr. Chen for their initiative and hope that their accomplishment inspires more young people in the Marianas to pursue the Congressional Award,” added Sablan.
Akter attained the bronze medal by accumulating 100 hours of voluntary public service, 50 hours of personal development activities, 50 hours of physical fitness activities, and completing an expedition requirement equivalent to at least two days and one night over a period of at least seven months.
“For my volunteer service, I volunteered at the Karidat Thrift Store, sorting items and helping the staff. I also volunteered as an after-school tutor at Tanapag Middle School,” said Akter. “My personal development goal for the Congressional Award was to learn how to crochet. I saw my [adviser] wearing a crocheted face mask and decided that I wanted to learn how to make crocheted items too.”
Chen achieved his silver medal by accumulating 200 hours of voluntary public service, 100 hours of personal development activities, 100 hours of physical fitness activities, and completing expedition requirement equivalent to at least three days and two nights over a period of at least 12 months.
“I earned my volunteer hours by volunteering as a translator and financial assistant with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency]. I also volunteered at an animal shelter. Between those two activities, I was able to accumulate the volunteer hours I needed to earn the silver medal,” said Xin. “For my personal development activity, I invested my time in improving my piano skills.”
Established by Congress in 1979, the Congressional Award honors initiative, service, and achievement among young people. Students achieve the Congressional Award by setting goals and accumulating activity hours in the four program areas of volunteering, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. The program is open to all youth regardless of ability, circumstance, or socioeconomic status. Young people may register for the program at https://www.congressionalaward.org/register/ at age 13 and a half. They have until their 24th birthday to complete their goals.
More details about the Congressional Award can be found on Sablan congressional office website, https://sablan.house.gov/serving-you/congressional-award, and on the Congressional Award website, https://congressionalaward.org. Additional resources and presentations about the Congressional Award are available from Sablan’s congressional district offices. For more information, call the Saipan District Office at 670-323-2647 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR)